North East Wales

A494/A55: Plans to revive road widening at Deeside

Plans to widen a dual carriageway which were rejected four years ago could be revived as part of a major shake-up of transport links in north east Wales.

Homes were demolished to make way for a controversial seven-lane highway on the A55 and A494 at Aston Hill in Flintshire, before ministers threw those plans out.

Now the stretch could be made into a six lane highway under new plans.

Another dual carriageway and new train station are also being considered.

The Welsh government said following two reports the next stage in its plans, aimed at cutting congestion, is to consult with local groups and council leaders.

In 2006, the original plans for that stretch which runs between Queensferry and Ewloe were first put forward but were rejected two years later by local people and a public inquiry.

Transport minister Carl Sargeant, Labour AM for Alyn and Deeside, also objected to the original plans saying in 2008 that they would have a "terrible impact" on residents.

But he now says alternate plans could be put forward following consultation with local people.

"We've now had a major re-think and fully taken into account local feelings and now want to move forward with a genuine consultation on a scheme aimed at improving transport conditions both locally and for the benefit of the whole of north Wales," he said.

"Both studies provide a series of potential solutions to these transport issues that consider all modes of transport and will help guide future transport investment in the region."

Truck stops

The A55/A494 study points out there are no suitable alternative routes on the road affected by high levels of seasonal congestion due to tourists.

It also sympathises with employers and freight generators saying "the economic loss experience by HGVs being at a standstill in congested traffic is often £30-an-hour".

The report considers a three-lane highway along with rebuilding of the road elsewhere to improve capacity.

Other options include a "freight consolidation centre at Deeside" and the provision of more truck stops as well as a park and car share schemes.

A new railway station serving Deeside Industrial Park is also considered in the report as the industrial zone is due to be extended to a former RAF site which Flintshire council hopes will create 5,000 jobs.

Other proposals include a new two-lane dual carriageway connecting the A55 at Northop and the A548 at Kersterton taking traffic away from the A55 and A494.

Shuttle services

And it also mentions creating a bypass at Flint to "reduce delays" that occur on the A548 when travelling through the town.

Connah's Quay councillor Peter Macfarlane, Flintshire council cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and leisure, broadly welcomed the "detailed" report but said more time was needed to consider its findings.

He added that plans for a rail station at Deeside industrial park has been an "ambition we have had for some time".

"If traffic flows more freely then economic development improves," he said.

The second report, the North East Wales Area Based Transport Study (NEWABTS), looks at aspirations for key travel areas covering:

  • Flint and Mold to Chester via Deeside and Broughton
  • Wrexham to Deeside via Mold and Buckley
  • Chester to Wrexham

It considers ways to overcome key pinch-points along routes such as Hope and Caergwrle near Wrexham and calls for improvements to the A541 Mold-Wrexham road.

And it also mentions a new rail station at Rossett to improve travel links between Chester and Wrexham along with more shuttle services and a "fast service" between Llandudno and Manchester which connect into Wrexham.

"Many of these service enhancements will require significant additional rail infrastructure," says the report.

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "The views of Flintshire county council, interest groups and the general public will be sought as part of the next stage of developing the A55/A494 study options in more detail."

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