THE M4 around Newport has been closed 830 times in the past two years.

Of those closures, on the stretch of motorway between Junction 23A (Magor Services) and Junction 29 (Tredegar Park), 363 were planned and 457 were unplanned.

The information was disclosed in reply to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Welsh Government.

The figures include partial closures, which is anything that restricts a lane. The Welsh Government said these could last a few minutes, and that the majority of maintenance work was done at night.

But Michael Enea, who submitted the FOI, said the results were "absolutely shocking" and justified a re-think on scrapped plans to build a new stretch of motorway – a so-called 'relief road' – around Newport.


First Minister Mark Drakeford decided to end the planned project last June, citing spiralling costs and environmental concerns.

An investigative commission had previously backed the relief road project.

"The M4 is the only major road artery feeding into the whole of south Wales, with a population of around two million people," Mr Enea said. "Our economy is being strangled. Mark Drakeford’s decision to scrap the relief road, against the advice of the commissioner, was simply wrong.

"Mr Drakeford needs to swallow his pride and reverse his decision."

But a Welsh Government spokesman drew attention to the severity of different types of closures. Unplanned closures can range from major crashes and maintenance work to the removal of debris from the roadside.

“Some disruption is inevitable on all motorways, whether through road incidents or essential work to maintain a safe network," he said. "We undertake the vast majority of maintenance work overnight and our traffic officers and trunk road agents work hard to minimise disruption.

“We are committed to tackling congestion on the M4 with solutions which recognise the challenged posed by the climate emergency. The South East Wales Transport Commission is examining longer-term options to address congestion along the M4 Newport corridor.”