THE M4 through Newport was closed more than 300 times last year, an ardent relief road campaigner has said.

Michael Enea, the previous Conservative candidate for Newport West, has obtained the figures following a Freedom of Information request to the Welsh Government.

In 2023, the government recorded 205 incidents where the M4 was “partially blocked” between junctions 23 (Magor) and 28 (Tredegar Park).

Of these, 159 closures were due to roadworks.

There were another 105 incidents last year where the M4 through Newport was “closed” in one direction, 55 of which were due to roadworks.

There were seven full lane closures in both directions, all for roadwork purposes.

'Madness must end'

While Mr Enea failed to oust the incumbent Jayne Bryant MS from her seat in the 2021 Senedd Election, he believes his continued support for building the road helped him to a better vote tally than any of his Conservative predecessors.

South Wales Argus: Michael Enea says the M4 'madness' must endMichael Enea says the M4 'madness' must end (Image: File)

“Over 10,300 people voted for me, which is the highest ever for a Conservative candidate for a Welsh election in Newport,” he said.

“During the last election, Labour promised alternatives to the relief road. Over four years on from scrapping it, they have failed to deliver on their so-called alternatives.

“The M4 remains logger-jammed with traffic and Wales’ economy continues to suffer as a result. The madness must end.”

The project to create a “corridor around Newport” had cost the Welsh Government £114 million when first minister Mark Drakeford decided to axe it over escalating costs and environmental concerns.

South Wales Argus: Mark Drakeford scrapped the project over spiralling costs and environmental concernsMark Drakeford scrapped the project over spiralling costs and environmental concerns

Now, Mr Enea has called on Mr Drakeford’s potential successors to call a “regional referendum” on whether to revive it.

One of those first minister hopefuls, education minister Jeremy Miles, ruled out a relief road reversal on a campaign visit to Newport last month.

“We have a set of positive proposals the Burns Commission have developed which address the pressures on the M4 and I would like us to take forward these proposals as fast as we can,” he said.

Economy minister Vaughan Gething, also vying to become first minister next month, said in 2018: “Doing nothing is no longer an option on the M4 relief road.

“Business across South and West Wales need certainty that the M4 will not be left as it is. I am determined that we will act and go ahead with an M4 relief road.”

Six years on, there is no mention of the M4 in Mr Gething’s leadership manifesto, though he too has called to improve the integration of public transport.

The Welsh Government says it is “pushing forward” with recommendations to improve transport in south east Wales, including five new rail stations from East Cardiff to Magor and Undy.