A NEWPORT Transport boss has suggested a guided busway along the M4 would go some way to help solve traffic problems in South Wales.
Scott Pearson, Newport Transport’s managing director, said “pretty radical” alternatives can be sought to improve public transport as well as the M4.
It comes in the wake of another major traffic snarl-up through Newport last Tuesday morning after two lorries crashed in the Brynglas Tunnels.
Mr Pearson said: “A guided busway would be a vital piece to help the M4.
“As well as thinking about M4, M4, M4, what else can we add to that which will give you good value or keep the costs low to get people from here to Cardiff and back and Swansea and back?”
The Welsh Government is currently considering plans to build a relief road for the M4 through Newport. The plans could cost £1 billion, although an alternative proposed by University of South Wales academic Professor Stuart Cole could cost £380 million.
And Mr Pearson said: “That £1 billion is a lot of money that can potentially be spent much better with other solutions. The minute the M4 goes down, Newport shuts down as well.”
Figures from the Welsh Government show that between 62,000 and 95,000 vehicles use the motorway every day.
Guided buses are contained in one lane and use a dedicated track, excluding all other traffic.
Professor Stuart Cole said he agreed with Mr Pearson’s argument — as long as they were contained within an urban area.
The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, which runs from Huntington to Trumpington and is operated by Cambridgeshire County Council, is the longest busway in the world and was opened in April 2011.
It connects St Ives, Huntingdon and Cambridge and was estimated to cost £150 million. That rose to £181 million by December 2010. A court case with the main contractor of the route, BAM Nuttall, further increased costs.
Another busway, the Crawley Fastway, is operated from Gatwick Airport to Crawley in West Sussex.
The Welsh Government’s economy minister Edwina Hart is considering responses to the consultation held on possible plans for the M4, which was completed in December.