Fears calmed over plans to extend dual carriageway

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd

COMMUNITY leaders are calming concerns about the potential expansion of a dual carriageway.

Extending a section of the A494 to three lanes in each direction from Ewloe to Queensferry is listed as a possible improvement in the newly published A55-A494 WelTag Study.

It is one of many possibilities to be explored as part of a range of potential work to improve the transport network in North Wales.

But its presence in the document has prompted a group of residents in Aston Hill to vow to fight if it goes ahead.

Four years ago residents launched a successful campaign against plans for a seven lane “super highway” in Aston Hill, which were eventually thrown out.

But Aston councillors Helen Brown and George Hardcastle are reassuring residents the extra lanes possibility could be a long way off and it is just one of many options to be looked at and say any scheme is unlikely to be on the scale of the previous “super highway” plans.

Cllr Brown said: “People are phoning me with concerns but I would like to reassure my residents it is not the case we are suddenly going to be getting the super highway that was being proposed a few years ago.

“That is just one of many things mentioned in the document and there is a hell of a long way to go before anything in it could happen with a consultation to take place.

“This is different to the previous plans that were described as a super highway.”

Cllr Hardcastle, who chaired the Aston Hill Says No! action group during the previous campaign with Cllr Brown as vice-chairman, said: “It’s a consultation period.

“Nothing’s been decided. We don’t know what they intend to do. We’ll be going through a consultation period where we’ll be looking at ways the A494 can be improved.”

Following the mention of the A494 extra lanes in the report, Aston Hill campaigners said their concerns included the potential impact on the health of children and pensioners who live nearby.

However, regular road user Trevor Ellis, of Mynydd Isa, believes an increase in lanes would be very welcome if it took place.

Mr Ellis, 87, told the Leader: “I sometimes use that road three or four times a day. It is definitely the case the road has to be widened. Sometimes it can be chaotic on there and very slow when it is busy.

“I have wanted to see this brought in for a long time. I really want to see it happen and so do a lot of other people.”

The original A494 plan, dubbed the “North Wales motorway”, was to widen a 2.5-mile stretch to four lanes uphill and three lanes downhill.

It was axed by then transport minister Ieuan Wyn Jones in March, 2008 after a lengthy battle and public inquiry.

Other proposals include extending the A55 from Ewloe to Northop to three lanes in each direction, as well as improving rail links and increasing the number of train stations.
 

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