Over-budget Penblewin to Slebech Park bypass opens

A major road project which was nearly £14m over budget is to be officially opened in Pembrokeshire.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones will unveil a plaque marking the opening of the A40 Penblewin to Slebech Park bypass, near Narberth.

The estimated cost of the new bypass was £27.6m in 2005, but it was eventually priced at £41.4m.

The Welsh Assembly Government said £27.6m was the estimated cost based on 2005 prices, and excluded land costs.

In January, the the Wales Audit Office said major road and rail projects in Wales had cost substantially more and took longer than expected.

A report into 18 major projects found the total cost rose from an estimated £366m to £592m, with final project costs an average 61% higher.

'Improve safety'

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: "The figure of £27.6m was the cost estimate at 2005 prices, and excluded land costs.

"The figure of £41.4m is the scheme cost at completion, including land costs and after taking account of construction inflation since 2005.

"The final scheme also included the costs of additional statutory procedures, additional works due to changes in design standards and the VAT applied to these costs."

Speaking before the unveiling the plaque in Pembrokeshire, he said: "I am delighted to welcome this scheme, which will improve safety and journey time reliability along the A40 - one of the primary road links between mainland Europe and Ireland.

"There's been talk of improving this particular stretch for decades - as far back as 1990 the old Welsh Office commissioned consultants to investigate the options."

Mr Jones will also announce the second part to the bypass scheme between Penblewin to Llanddewi Velfrey.

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