Criticism Over Welsh Government Communications Amidst Calls To Halt Bypass Roadworks
A leading councillor has warned of the ‘significant impact’ proposed works on the A483 could have on traffic across Wrexham if they take place.
As motorists and readers of Wrexham.com will already know, roadworks between Junctions 4 and 5 (Ruthin Road and Mold Road interchange) on the A483 started last week, resulting in long delays at both rush hour and throughout the day.
Further ‘resurfacing works’ are to be undertaken between junctions 5 and 6 (Mold Road and Gresford Roundabout), scheduled to commence from Monday 6 February which will take approximately eight weeks.
The works, which are being undertaken by North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency, will require 24 hour lane restrictions.
But Cllr David A Bithell, Lead Member for Environment and Transport for Wrexham Council, has called on Ken Skates AM, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, to call a halt for the works to allow more time for planning and the impact of the works to be communicated to members of the public and to businesses.
Speaking last Friday, Cllr Bithell said: “Earlier this week, we were contacted by officers from the Trunk Road Agency regarding proposals for major resurfacing works on the A483, which are due to start on February 6 and expected to last for at least eight weeks.
“It was only on January 25 that we were given proposals for the scheme, and how the works were to be delivered – but have received no plans detailing traffic management arrangements, which could include a contraflow system and slip-road closures.
“I have significant concerns about the level of impact these works will have on Wrexham and the surrounding area – there is a great risk that they could effectively bring Wrexham to a standstill, with a major detrimental impact on business and service providers.
“I really can’t stress how concerned I am with the potential impact of these works, and the manner in which NWMTRA has gone about planning and communication in advance. There is a real lack of consideration and appreciation of the impact this will have on Wrexham, its residents and businesses.
“I have written to Mr Skates as a matter of urgency, asking him to reconsider the works and prevent the likely chaos which would be caused by their taking place.”
For the record communication from Welsh Government / North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency to Wrexham.com has been zero on the recent works, however the usual small print notices to communicate buried in less and less read ‘local’ papers is the legal requirement for telling people what is going on have been complied with.
Back in 2014 we did an FOI that showed nearly half a million pounds was spent with NWN (Leader) by Wrexham Council on such statutory notices, but have not yet got the full details on the overall spend by other entities such as Welsh Government.
On this set of roadworks we asked Wrexham Council if they knew after a notice was placed as their release said they had the plans on the 25th, and the notice was placed a few days before on the 18th.
Cllr Bithell responded: “We were aware of the notice, but there was certainly not enough detail for us to be able to mitigate and adequately plan for the measures, as the Highway Authority.”
The ‘box tick’ nature of statutory notices rather than their genuine informative value is well documented around the UK, with our favourite being a licensing change being advertised one day, we then ran a story a few days later on the of-interest change, then the very paper that was paid for the statutory notice then viewed our take and did their own version. We will add this one to the collection!
UPDATE: As a worked example of the above, walking past the Co-op this morning it appears this is the front page lead story in the Leader today, despite the statutory notice appearing in the back of it on the 18th. That is thirteen days later until it made the front.
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