Chepstow bypass plans could be back on the table

- Planning

Chris Were

by Chris Were - Reporter

A LONG-STANDING campaign to build a bypass to alleviate Chepstow’s traffic chaos may be gaining steam again.

Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay and Monmouth MP David Davies have both renewed their calls to their respective chambers drawing attention to the campaign.

The calls for the bypass have been echoed by Monmouth MP David Davies in a letter sent last Friday (4th October) to the UK government minister for Wales, Kevin Foster.

In his letter Mr Davies describes Chepstow as a town suffering from pollution and gridlock as a result of heavy congestion on the A48, with residents unable to predict journey times and air quality levels in the town breaching World Health Organisation guidelines.

David Davies argues that the solution to this is to build a bypass and that the next step should be to spend an estimated £1.2 million on a detailed Welsh transport appraisal guidance (WelTAG) study.

In the letter Mr Davies said: "Monmouthshire County Council has offered to pay one third of the financial costs and I understand the Welsh government will pay a third. We therefore need a comment that the UK government will do the same."

On Tuesday 1st October Nick Ramsay brought the bypass back to the floor of the Senedd as a result of continued congestion, particularly around rush hour times.

He said: "The last few weeks have seen, once again, traffic chaos in Chepstow due to a number of roadworks and lane closures. I’ve called a number of times in this chamber for work to be done on a Chepstow bypass."

He added: "I know that the minister has listened to those pleas and I think discussions have happened. So I wonder if we could have an update from the minister for transport on where we are with trying to get to grips with some of the traffic problems, particularly at rush hour within Chepstow and whether there have been those all-important cross-border discussions between the UK and Welsh Governments on the viability of a bypass, of which I accept two thirds would be across the border in Gloucestershire."

Rebecca Evans, the minister for finance told Mr Ramsay that the issue had been discussed with the the secretary of state for transport within the past two weeks and that the Monmouth AM will be updated on the issue.

In 2015 the Beacon reported that residents tired of Chepstow’s traffic problems have voiced their concerns with a petition to build a bypass. The petition, addressed to David Davies MP and Nick Ramsay AM, along with Forest of Dean MP Mark Harper, had received over 500 signatures.

In 2017 another petition for a Chepstow bypass gathered more than 200 signatures at that year’s Chepstow Show, amid concerns about the amount of vehicle traffic and pollution in the town.

One suggestion was an on-off link to the M48 eastbound from the A48 at Hayes Gate at the bottom of Pwllmeyric Hill to allow access and egress for Caldicot, Portskewett, Shirenewton and Caerwent. This, campaigners say, would relieve pressure from High Beech roundabout.

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