ALTERATIONS to the busy High Beech roundabout and its approaches on the outskirts of Chepstow, have been proposed to help ease the town's traffic congestion and air pollution problems.

A range of proposals for the roundabout and its environs were unveiled at a public meeting at Chepstow School, organised by environmental group Transition Chepstow.

Dedicated traffic lanes - off Hardwick Hill, south onto the A466 Wye Valley Link Road to the M4; off the latter in the opposite direction, west onto the A48 towards Pwllmeyric; and off the A466 from the north, heading east onto Hardwick Hill - are among suggestions from the group's Traffic Forum.

Others include: Closing the Fair View entrance/exit onto the roundabout; relocating bus stops in both directions at the top of Hardwick Hill; increasing two-lane approaches to the roundabout, for instance on the A466 from the north; and putting yellow box markings on the roundabout to try to keep on/off routes clear.

Transition Chepstow co-ordinator Tim Melville told an audience of around 150 that there is a need to focus on swift solutions to congestion and air pollution, because a bypass, if it were to happen, is many years away.

Gerry Moss, of the group's transport forum, said High Beech roundabout is the "principal choke point" for traffic in Chepstow, and members believe the proposals are achievable in the short term and would be effective in easing congestion.

He acknowledged that members are not technical experts, and the proposals might not even be the best solution, "but are at least worthy of consideration".

Feeder lanes onto and off the A466-M4 in both directions are designed to reduce traffic levels on the roundabout itself, and proposed improvement work would also include making the roundabout smaller.

There is also a proposal - as the plans involve closing the Fair View entrance/exit - to create slip roads onto the A466 south and north at the point where Mathern Road crosses beneath the A466.

Mr Moss said the estimated cost of the proposals is £2-3 million, or £4-6m with extra work including resurfacing the A466-M4 link road. These however, have not been subject to scrutiny by the authorities that would be responsible for approving and carrying out any work.

The meeting also included presentations from Transition Chepstow members on car-share and walk-to-school schemes, the benefits of electric and hydrogen-powered cars, and a need for clearer lane and line markings at High Beech roundabout.

|Mr Melville said the aim is to stimulate debate and support for some of the proposals, to engage decision-makers, and to generate momentum for urgent action.