Welsh Transport Minister Edwina Hart has approved plans for a £1 billion M4 relief road around Newport.
The M4 is a key east-west route providing the main gateway into South Wales and provides a facility for transporting goods, linking people to jobs and employment sites as well as serving the Wales tourism industry.
Three routes have been under consideration as part of a public consultation.
In a statement issued by the Welsh Government, Hart said: “I am pleased to be able to update members on the outcome of the consultation on the M4 Corridor around Newport.
“Traffic congestion and unreliable journey times, particularly during rush hour, are common occurrences on the M4 around Newport. Addressing these capacity and resilience issues is a significant challenge that we face in ensuring that Wales has an effective economic infrastructure which improves our competitiveness and access to jobs and services.
To tackle this, we have identified the need for substantial improvements to the network between Magor and Castleton. Working with local communities, we carried out extensive work and consultation in the development of the draft plan.”
A public consultation on the draft plan and associated assessments took place between September and December 2013.
Hart continued: “The responses to the draft plan public consultation did not provide any reasons why the draft plan should not be adopted as the plan for the M4 Corridor around Newport.
“After carefully considering the responses to the consultation, the Environmental Report which accompanied the draft plan consultation and associated assessments, I have decided to adopt the plan, which includes a new section of motorway being built between junctions 23 and 29 south of Newport, alongside complementary measures.”
These measures include:
- Reclassifying the existing M4 between Magor and Castleton
- An M4/M48/B4245 connection
- Providing cycling friendly infrastructure
- Providing walking friendly infrastructure.
The plan will be published on the www.m4Newport.com website as required by the Strategic Environmental Assessment Regulations.
Hart concluded: “The plan is seeking to improve accessibility for people, Welsh goods and services to international markets by addressing capacity and resilience issues on the main gateway into South Wales. This will deliver clear benefits for businesses and commuters and complements our proposals for a Metro system for the Cardiff Capital Region. I have agreed for my officials to begin the procurement of a contractor to progress the design of the scheme.”