FURTHER delays to traffic improvements at a major Chepstow junction are a "hammer blow" for the town's residents and economy, the secretary of state for Wales has said.

David Davies, who also serves as the MP for Monmouth, said the latest Welsh Government update on its traffic plan for Chepstow would mean "another year of unbearable traffic congestion".

He called on ministers in Cardiff Bay to speed up work to improve traffic flow at Highbeech roundabout, which connects the town to the Severn Bridge and the M48, via the A466 link road.

The project is in the pipeline - the first stage of the government's WelTAG process has already been completed - but Mr Davies wants to see results sooner, especially given the recent disruption caused by the ongoing maintenance work on the Severn Bridge.

"I would therefore implore you to urgently reconsider funding the WelTAG 2 study to move this vital scheme forward and make the necessary improvements to High Beech roundabout," he wrote to Welsh deputy climate change minister Lee Waters.

In his reply to Mr Davies, seen by the Argus, Mr Waters said he appreciated "local concerns and frustrations" but there was not "unlimited funding" for road projects.

"We must prioritise funding across Wales and this scheme is not considered urgent at the present time," Mr Waters said, adding that the Welsh Government would "consider funding for the Highbeech Roundabout scheme to continue to WelTAG Stage 2 as part of the 2023/24 allocations".

A government spokesperson confirmed to the Argus it had produced a "strategic outline case" of potential solutions for Highbeech roundabout and would continue to work with local stakeholders to address Chepstow's traffic issues.

But for Mr Davies and local representatives, further delays are unacceptable.

The Monmouth MP alleged the Welsh Government had "dealt a hammer blow to Chepstow by turning down funding yet again, preventing the WelTAG 2 study from being undertaken - despite the progress which had been made with WelTAG 1 - and subjecting residents to another year of unbearable traffic congestion".

Paul Pavia, Monmouthshire county councillor, said the news was "significantly disappointing" and feared "it could be another four to six years before any improvements are actually undertaken", given the current pace of progress.

Fellow Conservative councillor Christopher Edwards called for more "strategic thinking" in solving Chepstow’s congestion and air pollution issues, amid concerns further housing developments could increase the strain on the town.

"Better infrastructure is desperately needed before more housing should even be considered," he said, adding that the Welsh Government's "seemingly eternal freeze on new road-building projects" was a "stumbling block" in the way of any improvements to Chepstow's traffic problems.