New Brynglas M4 tunnels 'would take ten years' - transport expert

South Wales Argus: CONGESTION: There are four proposals to cut jams on the M4 CONGESTION: There are four proposals to cut jams on the M4

A PROPOSAL to bore an extra M4 tunnel at Brynglas could face ten years of delays if government officials tried to get it built because of opposition.

That's according leading transport expert Professor Stuart Cole, who said turning the Southern Distributor Road into an expressway was a quicker and cheaper option that would solve the problem of the Brynglas Tunnels.

The Welsh Government is consulting on four proposals to tackle congestion, safety and pollution on the Newport stretch of the M4.

One of the schemes, known as option D, includes building a new tunnel at Brynglas and expanding the motorway to four lanes between junction 24 and 29.

Prof Cole, of the University of Glamorgan's Wales Transport Research Centre, said: "With option D there will be a lot of opposition and opposition invariably means delay."

The public inquiry process could last ten years, he said.

"The problem is that the capacity at the existing Brynglas Tunnels is inadequate for the traffic it is expected to take," he said.

"We need to find a short term solution. Waiting ten years is not a short term solution."

Option D has already sparked opposition on both sides of the existing tunnels, with campaigners fearing many homes could face demolition.

Prof Cole also argued that building work would inevitably cause traffic disruption while costs could rise from the estimated £550 million.

The transport professor said a better and cheaper scheme was option C - upgrading the SDR with new junctions to allow free flowing traffic.

That could solve the capacity issue at the Brynglas Tunnels with a solution that could be "implemented within three years rather than ten or more", he claimed.

He said the estimated cost of £300 million for the upgrade work was for the "Rolls Royce" version, and the cost could be brought down with fewer intersections and more bridges where users can't access the road.

He said option B, a £45 million proposal to improve the SDR's roundabouts with signal controls at all junctions, is just "messing around".

The professor added he couldn't see the point of option A, which would see a new road built south of Newport, when an existing road could be modified.

The consultation continues until July 6. For more information and to respond visit www.m4cemconsultation.com

Comments (5)

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8:34am Tue 3 Jul 12

Bobevans says...

ere is no other option other than to increase capacity on the M4 and the tunnel option looks to be the best and most cost effective option.

The M4 is not a local Newport road which many seem to think it is.

Yes the SDR also needs to be improve to ease traffic flows around Newport but it does not deal with the M4 Issue and failing to deal with it will have a very serious impact on the economy of South Wales.
ere is no other option other than to increase capacity on the M4 and the tunnel option looks to be the best and most cost effective option. The M4 is not a local Newport road which many seem to think it is. Yes the SDR also needs to be improve to ease traffic flows around Newport but it does not deal with the M4 Issue and failing to deal with it will have a very serious impact on the economy of South Wales. Bobevans

8:49am Tue 3 Jul 12

st juliano says...

The bottom line is that the m4 is no longer up to the task it was built for 40+ years ago. You can put forward as many other options as you like, but none other than widening the m4 address the problem properly.

If the projected cost for the tunnels is £550m now, what will it be in ten years. Not far off the 1bn it was going to cost the original plan for a motorway that was deemed too expensive.
I can see that in the end we will end up almost paying the 1bn but with a 10 year wait thrown in.
The bottom line is that the m4 is no longer up to the task it was built for 40+ years ago. You can put forward as many other options as you like, but none other than widening the m4 address the problem properly. If the projected cost for the tunnels is £550m now, what will it be in ten years. Not far off the 1bn it was going to cost the original plan for a motorway that was deemed too expensive. I can see that in the end we will end up almost paying the 1bn but with a 10 year wait thrown in. st juliano

9:04am Tue 3 Jul 12

PaulHalliday says...

Widening the tunnels can't be taken as a serious option. One can only begin to imagine the spiralling costs and the major disruption. What happens to the M4 during construction?

If the southern distributed road is treated as a major road using slip roads and fly overs instead of roundabouts we could end up with a number of options for going round Newport, especially with the eastern distributer road taken into consideration.
Widening the tunnels can't be taken as a serious option. One can only begin to imagine the spiralling costs and the major disruption. What happens to the M4 during construction? If the southern distributed road is treated as a major road using slip roads and fly overs instead of roundabouts we could end up with a number of options for going round Newport, especially with the eastern distributer road taken into consideration. PaulHalliday

9:32am Tue 3 Jul 12

Owain Vaughan says...

A southern route is the only realistic option. Bob keeps banging on about widening the M4 but that still doesn't address the problem of what happens when the entire road is shut. We need redundancy in the system and this means a secondary route.

Of course any improvement of the SDR must not lead to local access being removed as that defeats the original purpose of the road.
A southern route is the only realistic option. Bob keeps banging on about widening the M4 but that still doesn't address the problem of what happens when the entire road is shut. We need redundancy in the system and this means a secondary route. Of course any improvement of the SDR must not lead to local access being removed as that defeats the original purpose of the road. Owain Vaughan

1:13pm Tue 3 Jul 12

Bobevans says...

You do not understand the purpose of the Motorway. It is not a local Newport bypass as you seem to think.

The dualling of the tunnels is the only viable solution

Yes the local Newport roads need improving but that is another issue.
You do not understand the purpose of the Motorway. It is not a local Newport bypass as you seem to think. The dualling of the tunnels is the only viable solution Yes the local Newport roads need improving but that is another issue. Bobevans

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