PLANS for alternatives to the scrapped M4 relief road are set to be announced early next year.

After 20 years of discussions, the Assembly scrapped plans for a controversial £1 billion M4 relief road in July.

It came to light in August how plans for the six lane road had cost the public more than £15 million.

But since then there has been no news as to exactly when alternatives will be put in place to ease congestion on the M4.

Some traffic measures have already started with work on widening the road and setting up a variable speed limit system.

But the Assembly is also looking into the possibility of buying the Llanwern steelworks access road from Corus and upgrading it to a trunk road.

The Assembly is in discussions with Newport city council about linking one end of this road with the M4 and the other end with the Southern Distributor Road.

Other measures include creating permanent park and ride and car share sites at Llanwern, which is already going to be a temporary site during the Ryder Cup, and at Severn Tunnel Junction.

Improvements to the road network around Newport would focus on the Tredegar Park junction, Brynglas Tunnels and Coldra roundabout to ease the movement of local traffic.

All of these plans will be subject to approval and planning permission and so the Assembly does not expect to release its formal proposals and timetables until the beginning of next year.

An Assembly spokesman said it is keen to deliver improvements along the M4 corridor as quickly as possible.

But local businesses are concerned further waiting is going to put more pressure on Gwent’s roads and impact on trade and business which are already struggling because of the economic climate.

Tony Elston of Elston's Butchers in the market, said an M4 relief road should have ideally been created before Newport holds the Ryder Cup next year.

He said: "The city needs major investment and there doesn't seem to be a lot going on."