By Ken Skates

MS for Clwyd South

I continue to receive regular emails and calls from constituents asking what is happening with the closed B5605 at Newbridge.

There still appears to be some confusion about who is responsible for the work, with some residents pointing the finger at the Welsh Government.

As a B-road, the B5605 falls under Wrexham Council's remit. However, due to the scale of the job, I launched a campaign alongside councillors Frank Hemmings and Derek Wright calling on the Welsh Government to meet the costs. Funding for the work, totalling £2.8m, was confirmed in April 2022 – almost 18 months ago – and the matter has been entirely in the council's hands since.

I share residents' frustrations – the road needs to be opened up again as soon as possible. In May, the council told me it aimed to have the road reopened by the end of this year, but that appears to no longer be the case.

I contacted Wrexham Council once again recently to ask for an update to share with residents. To keep local people informed of the latest developments, I am sharing below the council’s word-for-word response:

“A Design and Build Contract was awarded to the preferred contractor, Jones Bros Ltd, in July following a tender process via the North and Mid Wales Trunk Roads framework. Consulting Engineers Atkins Ltd have been leading on behalf of WCBC, ensuring procurement and contractual compliance is maintained, including best value for WCBC.

“The landslip repair is complex in terms of the challenging ground conditions, and identifying the most effective and cost efficient repair approach has resulted in this Design and Build Contract being divided into two stages. The first stage involves Jones Bros undertaking further and more detailed ground investigation works that will be utilised to allow a design that is fully costed, so allowing construction in the second stage to be implemented smoothly.

“This work is ongoing with Ground Investigation specialists having been recently appointed by Jones Bros. The ground investigation works will be taking place on site early in September. Atkins have also been progressing with various studies including ecology and environmental impact surveys, the findings of these surveys will influence the Design and Build Contractors second stage planning and methods of working.

“Whilst we are keen to see the Design and Build Contract progress to stage two, we also understand that seeing no physical activity is understandably causing frustration, but we are confident that we have the benefit of the best team involved in the form of this Design and Build Contractor. As with any project of this scale, the design and planning stages commonly take longer than the construction stage.

“Jones Bros Ltd are also in the process of setting up a publicly accessible social media account dedicated to Newbridge, so that the latest news can be accessed for those who prefer to use this medium.”

I will continue to press the council to reinstate this key route as soon as possible and to provide proactive and regular public updates to keep people informed.