FRUSTRATED residents, business owners and members of the town council in Usk have criticised Monmouthshire council’s decision to implement a one-way system for traffic on Bridge Street for social distancing reasons.

The temporary one-way system planned by Monmouthshire council - which will be in place at the end of next week - was confirmed on Friday.

The system will use Bridge Street for motorists heading east towards Monmouth and the A40, while those heading in the opposite direction will be diverted via Twyn Square, Priory and Church Streets, Maryport Street, Mill Lane and Mill and New Market Streets.

The fear is that the system on Bridge Street will mean that heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), which often drive through the town despite restrictions being in place, will cause traffic jams on smaller roads and add to safety concerns.

The debate over a one-way system through Usk is not new. Proposals to make Bridge Street (A472) one-way were announced in February by consultancy firm Arup as part of its town improvement masterplan, but those plans were scrapped by Monmouthshire Council (MCC) and Arup in May after uproar from residents.

A statement from MCC yesterday revealed that the one-way system is going to be implemented in the town, but will be constantly reviewed.

Deputy leader of MCC Cllr Bob Greenland said: “The town council, wishing to avoid a one-way system, proposed traffic lights (last week) whereas the council’s preferred option was for a temporary one-way traffic system.

“The closure of Bridge Street to traffic for gas main works in 2018 and the two-way diversion then, worked much better than many expected and while it is understood that many local residents may not wish for this one-way system to be tried, it is essential if we are to achieve social distance along Bridge Street.”


On its social media pages Usk Town Council said it is “disappointed to announce that MCC have rejected all the proposals suggested as alternatives to the one-way system”.

"This is not the news that Usk Town Council or residents were hoping for," the council added.

Business owner Phil Cook, who owns 57 Bridge Street, said: “What might work elsewhere in Monmouthshire will not work in Usk.

“Footfall on Bridge Street is not great and hasn’t been for a long time, so these social distancing measures are unnecessary as well as impractical.

Resident Andrew Willis said: “Footfall in Usk is light and shops likely requiring queuing outside will be minimal.

“With two or three additional crossings in the town this would allow easy avoidance of outside queues and to avoid pedestrians.

“It also has additional benefits with slowing traffic and thus making people driving through more likely to consider entering Usk and parking, and thus frequenting shops.”