Funding sought for new bypass after removal of Severn Bridge tolls
Increased traffic caused by the removal of the Severn Bridge tolls has led to plans for a bypass.
Local authorities in Gloucestershire, Monmouthshire and the Forest of Dean are looking into ways to alleviate concerns about vehicles travelling through Chepstow.
Ways to fund a significant new road through Sedbury and Beachley, providing a direct link between the A48 to the east of Chepstow and the M48, are being considered.
The major long-term project would improve rail links and create a new bridge crossing over the River Wye.
It all began with the Chepstow Transport Study, commissioned last year, which identified 20 different options.
Quick wins mentioned were better public transport integration, upgrading walking and cycling routes and reducing the need to travel.
For the future, it was agreed a bypass is needed to make a real impact.
In January, Highways England said a record number of vehicles came to Wales after the charges were scrapped on December 17.
Between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, 194,631 made westbound crossings on the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge, an 18 per cent increase on the same week in 2017.
There were 59,854 crossings westbound over the old Severn Bridge between 25 December and 31 December compared with 44,752 in 2017.
Councillor Tim Gwilliam (Berry Hill, Forest First) and leader of the council said: “The road and transport issues for residents in and around Sedbury and Tutshill are very clear.
“The most important thing now is that our councils can find the funding needed to move forward with the next set of studies.
“People living and working in the Forest of Dean, Monmouthshire and the wider Gloucestershire area will all benefit from our councils taking a collaborative approach to transport so I look forward to our future talks.”
A meeting was held on January 28 between the councils and the Forest Economic Partnership, to give their commitment to lobby MPs and help facilitate progress.
The various stages of the business case conforms with the English and Welsh ‘Transport Assessment Guidance’ processes.
Cllr Nigel Moor (C, Stow), Gloucestershire County Council’s cabinet member for environment and planning, said: “We recognise that for many of our residents, visitors and businesses improved transport access to the south west of our county is needed to maximise the positive opportunities the removal of the tolls on the Severn crossings have to offer.
“I welcome the findings of the ‘Chepstow Transport Study’ which makes a valuable contribution by highlighting potential improvements and pledge that we will continue to work with our partner councils to build on the findings of the study so we can make the necessary improvements become a reality.”