Author Topic: A465 Heads of the Valleys: Section 2  (Read 931 times)

Offline rhychydwr1

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A465 Heads of the Valleys: Section 2
« on: September 27, 2017, 05:24:49 pm »
We would like to inform you of a weekend road closure of the
A465 Heads of the Valley Trunk Road between Brynmawr and Gilwern.
20:30 ON FRIDAY 6 OCTOBER 2017 - 09:00 ON SUNDAY 8 OCTOBER 2017

Please note this is a partial weekend closure.
Full closure Brynmawr to Glanbaiden
The crossover point for Clydach South and North will be available.
The crossover point at Station Road, Gilwern will also be available.
During the course of the closure full access will be maintained through the site for emergency services vehicles which will be escorted by our traffic management team.
We will be providing a minibus service to replace the Stagecoach Service 3 on Saturday.

 For further information, please contact the South Wales Trunk Road Agent (SWTRA) on
0300 123 1213, select 1 for English, then select 2 for road maintenance issues.
Alternatively, should you have any queries please contact our Public Liaison officer Jeff Mapps on his e-mail, or via the office project contact number:
01873 833 100 or 24 hour helpline: 0845 600 2664.

Offline paulf

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Re: A465 Heads of the Valleys: Section 2
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2017, 01:22:11 pm »
Any news when Ogof Capel access is open again please ?

Offline Stuart France

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Re: A465 Heads of the Valleys: Section 2
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2017, 12:18:11 am »
Ogof Capel has not been closed yet due to the road works.  Its closure schedule was October but obviously this has slipped.  I have been in touch with Costain about a revised closure timetable and other matters.  They've got my email and I await a substantive reply.

I also raised the subject of the permanent loss of the "big layby" on the A465 in the Clydach Gorge which is the easiest parking for the bottom entrance to Ogof Nant Rhin.  It's not very practical to access it from the east side (i.e. head for Ogof Clogwyn then ford the river).  There's also the question of how someone who does a through-trip top to bottom gets back to the top across the surface to their parking spot.  How do they cross a 50mph dual carriageway?  Return via the bat tunnel or what?  The bat tunnel is, I'm told, only about 900mm diameter tube so a definite no-no from a professional H&S viewpoint (confined space blah blah big drop nearby blah blah) though to most cavers involved in exploration 900mm I.D. is enormous.  Will the bat tunnel be grilled to prevent caver use?

I also raised the general question of parking for all leisure activities (not just caving) as some of the former informal places are also disappearing.  The people of Blackrock and Clydach may be somewhat unamused if the legacy of the A465 dualling is that visitors in general have nowhere to park, for lack of foresight by planners, except in villages that are already short of parking spaces for their own residents.

Stuart France
Cambrian Caving Council

Offline robjones

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Re: A465 Heads of the Valleys: Section 2
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2017, 08:16:52 pm »
The presence / absence of lay-bys is a design issue decided upon by Welsh Government. The contractors merely build what is designed; any alterations to the design have to be agreed by the client (WG) and frequently result in cost and time increases and so tend to be discouraged.

Lay-bys are only approved if there are adequate sight lines (pretty long even on a 50mph highway) and if they fall within the land-take (extra land necessitates either a potentially expensive agreement with a landowner or if this fails, or cannot be justified on cost grounds, a politically very problematic additional compulsory purchase order).

Community representations may carry a little weight at this late stage; minority requests (as cavers will be perceived) will be dismissed: don't get your hopes up but bravo for trying .

I used to be this line of work for such clients and fielded comparable late requests - the stock initial answer was that it was not possible on  cost and timetable (also equals cost) grounds, and that there had been opportunities to raise such matters during pre-construction public consultations and in any public enquiry which may have been held. Engaging the support of a MP or AM (or, better, a central government minister) could help significantly but certainly did not guarantee success, especially in constricted and awkward schemes such as this section of highway.

Good luck!

Offline Cavebaby88

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Re: A465 Heads of the Valleys: Section 2
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2017, 09:27:40 pm »
If you've no reply by Thursday Stuart drop me a message and I'll get Hywel or Jeff to follow it up.
Fight the fear - You WILL succeed

Offline Stuart France

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Re: A465 Heads of the Valleys: Section 2
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2017, 09:39:11 pm »
Thanks for the offer, but I don't want to harry them.

I know that Costain are only the main contractor and they are being paid only to implement it.  Having said that, the delay in their reply, as they are normally pretty efficient, suggests that conversations elsewhere are taking place.  Costain's manager has acknowledged receipt of my letter - it is not as if it is being ignored.

I know there’s no real chance that a layby can be added to the new A465 at this late stage in the project, but my other concern is that the re-alignment of the minor road near villages is removing traditional parking places and this might displace future visitor parking into those villages as well as being inconvenient for the visitors themselves who want to park as close to the ‘visitor attractions’ as possible, be they caves or going for walks.

I dare say the prospect of muddy cavers in wellies dashing across a brand new dual carriageway that was intended to make this road safer, or scrambling through little tunnels under it near to big drops that were intended to save the lives of bats, has given them pause for thought.

Costain have already laid some handy tarmac in a small old quarry that is used for Craig a Ffynnon parking, so this should be retained.  The old Blackrock quarry had a pull in suitable for informal parking (now gone as a result of the road re-alignment) which could be re-instated fairly cheaply and it would encourage visitors to park just above the edge of the village rather than in it in competition with its residents.