TRAFFIC through a Flintshire town will grind to a halt if a radical new bypass is not built soon, say community leaders.
The proposed Flint bypass, over the Dee Estuary, must be approved before the town’s population increases, said councillors at a special meeting on Monday.
Traffic problems along the A548 Coast Road are only going to get worse, said Flint Oakenholt councillor Rita Johnson.
“There is so much congestion on that bottom road,” she told the Leader. “We need to get the heavy goods vehicles out of Flint before the traffic just grinds to a halt.
“The bypass won’t happen for years but it’s got to be started somewhere at some time.”
Plans for the bypass were originally proposed in the early 1990s as part of a major road network scheme in the county, which saw the Flintshire Bridge built on Deeside.
Its route would start from Oakenhalt and go to the east side of Flint over the Dee Estuary to the Manor Industrial Estate on the border with Bagillt.
Town councillor John Yorke said a bypass is the only possible solution to the traffic problem.
“Flint is going to be overwhelmed, not just by HGVs but by ordinary traffic,” he said at the meeting where Carl Longland, director of environment, and Tony Sharps, deputy council leader, were present.
“It is exacerbated by drivers who use the Coast Road to get to places like Rhyl and Prestatyn.
"The A548 is just not capable of taking the traffic flow and it’s going to be made worse by the 1,000 or so houses that are to be built in Flint. The only thing that can ease the traffic is a bypass.”
Cllr Yorke said that birdlife around the estuary must learn to adapt with a new road.
“Of course people will protest about the bypass because of the birds and the wildlife,” he said.
“They said the same thing about the M40 motorway before that was built, but if you drive up the M40 now you still see buzzards and kites.
“People have got to understand that nature re-adapts and balances itself out.”
The councillors are calling for the Welsh Assembly Government to take responsibility for the A548 by making it into a trunk road.
Cllr Yorke said:“It was built over 60 years ago and like old things, it could do with some repairs.
"Then they should give us the £50m or so we need to build this bypass.”
Cllr Johnson said WAG should have no problems funding the project following the abandonment of the A494 road widening scheme at Aston Hill.
“WAG budgeted £60m to widen that road and it just fell through, so where has all that money gone?” she asked.