Optimistic to a fault? First minister brushes off Heads of the Valleys issues

31/01/2019
Rhodri Clark

A Welsh dualling scheme beset by delays, rising costs and a contractual dispute has been hailed by first minister Mark Drakeford as an example of successful capital investment in Wales.

The Welsh Government is unable to say when the dualling of the A465 Heads of the Valleys road between Gilwern and Brynmawr will be completed or what the final cost will be.

A spokeswoman confirmed to Highways that the Government is still in dispute with contractor Costain over liability for additional cost.

Mr Drakeford, who became First Minister in December,  told the Welsh Assembly: 'The improvements to the Heads of the Valleys road – another example of a major capital investment being successfully carried out here in Wales – will allow for traffic that wishes to go to South-west Wales to use that route from the Midlands, rather than having to come down to the M4.'

The Government is committed to dualling the entire A465 from Abergavenny to Hirwaun. The road is already dual carriageway from Hirwaun to the M4 near Port Talbot. Work on the Gilwern-Brynmawr section began on site in early 2015.

Mr Drakeford was finance minister when the Government revealed in autumn 2017 that the cost – previously estimated at about £220m – had increased by 23%.

Transport minister Ken Skates said the Government was determined to protect taxpayers from the additional costs. At the time, ministers expected completion in late 2019 and were considering completing the eastern part in early spring 2019.

This week the government said it anticipated the eastern part being completed by the end of the summer and 'technical challenges faced by the contractor' had extended the overall completion date.

Residents and businesses have complained about the ongoing roadworks. Last year, Stagecoach reduced bus services in response to the disruption.

Last week, the largest new structure on this section of the A465 was named the Jack Williams Gateway Bridge (pictured above), honouring a local World War 1 hero who received the Victoria Cross. The 118-metre thrust arch bridge carries a local road across the gorge in which the A465 lies.

Highways jobs

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Bridge Park Operations Manager

Brent Council
£38,799 - £41,706 p.a. inc.
This is an exciting opportunity to play a key role in managing the operations and contributing towards the... Brentford (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
A great opportunity for someone looking to start or develop a career in Highways Engineering including the... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Strategic Transport

Cheshire East Council
£64,000 - £75,000 + benefits
We’re committed to “working for a brighter future together” – and we expect you to be too! Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Regeneration Manager

Mole Valley District Council
£52,895 - £57,143 FTE
This is a great career opportunity to specialise in town centre regeneration and repositioning. Dorking, Surrey
Recuriter: Mole Valley District Council

Technical Services Officer (Mechanical)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
This is an exciting and challenging time for Kirklees and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road and Footway Asset Engineer

Kent County Council
£28,925 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Road and Footway Asset Team as an Asset Engineer. Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Head of Waste

Lincolnshire County Council
£65,651 - £70,725
As Head of Waste, you will be commercially focussed and forward-thinking. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director

Reading Borough Council
Up to £92k
It’s the ideal time to take the lead on our modernisation agenda, and deliver growth in the trading of our front line services. Reading, Berkshire
Recuriter: Reading Borough Council

Assistant Director – Highways

Lincolnshire County Council
£82,264 - £107,878
Come and lead the future agenda for our highways services. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

County Highways Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
Seeking a highly motivated leader and an excellent communicator, who has a proven ability to build relationships and trust, leading by example. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Local Highways Manager (East) - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council
G12 £43,662 - £50,430
Seeking someone who combines excellent technical knowledge with a dedication to the customer. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Download your Highways App

Google App Apple App

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Latest Issue

The ALARM survey 2019

Game over for flyovers?

Traffex, Parkex and Cold Comfort Scotland previews

View the latest issue

Latest Video