South East Wales

Port Talbot motorway link will 'create 600 jobs'

Up to 600 jobs are expected to be created during the construction of a £107m link on the M4 near Port Talbot.

The 3m (4.8km) link road will connect Port Talbot and the docks area to junction 38 of the motorway.

It will take 33 months and is designed to improve journey times, reduce congestion and encourage investment.

The project also aims to boost shipping activity and waterfront development.

The project is being funded with money from the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Union.

Economy and Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said the assembly government remained determined to invest in capital projects "despite challenging economic times".

The final phase of the project will connect with previously completed phases and make available up to 210 hectares of mainly brownfield land for development of small to medium sized businesses, he said.

'Excellent news'

Ali Thomas, leader of Neath Port Talbot council, said it was excellent news for the area.

"This strategic road will provide an attractive gateway to the town and open up development opportunities along our waterfront area, in particular the Harbourside and Port Talbot town centre regeneration areas.

"It will benefit our local communities, visitors and businesses alike, and attract new investment and employment opportunities, not only during the construction period, but for generations to come."

Alun Llewellyn of the council's economic regeneration scrutiny committee said it would make a big difference to easing congestion along the M4.

"Perhaps more importantly it could be the key to unlocking acres of prime commercial and industrial land," he added.

He told the BBC's Good Morning Wales programme it would also improve links between the docks and the M4, which could see a big rise in freight and other shipping.

The announcement follows news of further investment by Corus at its Port Talbot plant.

Some £185m will be spent refurbishing a blast furnace at the plant raising hopes that production will continue at the site for several more decades.

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