Business in demand over roads revamp
BUSINESS leaders have called for major investment in the Swansea Bay road network after a rush- hour pile-up forced the closure of the M4 Briton Ferry bridge.
Motorists came to a halt along the route on Wednesday at 7.12am because three cars were ablaze on the carriageway.
Four vehicles were involved in the accident and quick-thinking fire fighters had to winch a van packed with explosives away from the scene. Thanks to the inferno traffic was backed up to junction 46 Llangyfelach, leading to concerns about the knock-on effect for business.
Three people had to be taken to Swansea's Morriston Hospital with minor injuries.
Julie Williamson, Swansea Bay branch chairwoman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said more needed to be done to improve the region's road network.
She said the Welsh Government was focusing most of its investment on the £1 billion M4 Newport relief road. But a Welsh Government spokeswoman said that proposed scheme would not hit other plans for the motorway. Ms Williamson said: "Small businesses in the Swansea Bay area will undoubtedly have been hit by the problems caused by the crash which closed the eastbound carriageway of the Briton Ferry bridge during the morning rush-hour.
"There has been much focus by the Welsh Government in recent times on the problems of the M4 further east at Newport, but this incident really underlines that Newport is not the only pinch point on the major roads network in Wales.
"That is why at FSB Wales we are in favour of transport infrastructure investment schemes that will benefit the whole of Wales, and are concerned that the Welsh Government is considering spending £1 billion on a new M4 relief road at Newport, which would leave little money left for road and rail improvement schemes in other parts of Wales."
The accident led to a road closure to be in operation before junction 41 westbound and traffic travelling eastbound was diverted along the old Briton Ferry Bridge.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: "Claims that improvements to the M4 at Newport would prevent expenditure on other areas of the M4 in South Wales are not correct and any improvements around Newport would have benefits for the whole region. A public consultation on the draft plan for improvements to the M4 is currently under way and we would encourage the FSB and all other business organisations to participate."