Clwyd West AM Darren Millar has slated the Welsh Government this week for failing to take the need for investment on the A55 seriously and called for a “proper upgrade” on what is the main artery into North Wales.
Speaking in the Welsh Parliament yesterday, Darren, who has made repeated calls in the Senedd over the years for investment in the A55, highlighted the problems lack of investment is causing along the stretch and urged those in power to stop focusing all their attention on roads in Labour-held constituencies.
In a question to the Minister for Economy and Transport, he said:
“One area of investment that you are responsible for but haven't taken very seriously is the need for investment in the A55 trunk road in North Wales. You will be aware of the significant disruption that often takes place on the A55, particularly when there is road maintenance taking place or, indeed, when there are accidents on that road because of the lack of a hard shoulder along significant parts of it.
“The failure to address the congestion on the A55 is having a devastating impact on visitor experience, it's causing ambulances not to be able to get to patients on time or to get them to hospitals when they need to, and it's causing untold damage to the economy in terms of people not being able to get to or from places of education or employment.
“The recent roadworks in Llanddulas caused tailbacks that amounted to over an hour of extra travel time through the A55 in my constituency, and caused untold havoc on roads, including the B5381, the B5383, and the A547, all of which are local roads that cost a significant amount for local councils to repair once the heavy volume of traffic from the A55, for which they're not designed, has to travel along them in order to avoid the chaos that your Government causes because of the lack of investment.
“So, can you tell us when will we see a proper upgrade of the A55 throughout north Wales, and not just in Labour-held constituencies?”
In his response the Deputy Minister, Lee Waters AM, failed to answer Darren’s question, and instead referred to Welsh Government investment in the railway, stating “tackling congestion isn't just about road improvements, it's about a multimodal approach to give people alternatives to roads, and we are investing significantly in the railway”.
Speaking after the exchange in the Senedd, Darren said: “It’s all well and good investing in the railway and I agree we should be encouraging more people to travel by rail, however that shouldn’t be to the detriment of what is the lifeblood of the North Wales economy, the A55, which already has the unpopular accolade of being one of the worst congested roads in the UK
“The people of North Wales are sick of hearing about investment in road infrastructure in South Wales, it’s about time that the road infrastructure in North Wales was given a fair share of investment.”