M4 junctions closure postponed in bid to explore other options
CONTROVERSIAL proposals to close several junctions on the M4 at Port Talbot have been postponed.
The Welsh Government is looking at ways to reduce the risk of accidents and ease pressure on the increasingly-congested motorway between Junctions 38 and 42.
Options to improve traffic and prevent accidents include the closure or partial closure of junctions 40 and 41 at Taibach and Pentyla and the installation of an average speed camera.
Preliminary consultation has already taken place with Neath Port Talbot Council, South Wales Police, Mid and West Fire and Rescue Service and South East, Central and West Wales Ambulance.
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Public consultation had been planned for the end of the summer but now it has been confirmed that the proposals have been put back and further options are being considered.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: "The consultation looking into improving traffic flow on the M4 near Port Talbot has been postponed until the end of the year so further options into easing congestion around this section of the M4 can be considered.
"The works that will flow from the consultation will be defined once it has been completed."
Aberavon AM David Rees told residents at a Cwmtogether meeting that he had been informed that the proposals had been put back.
He later added: "I am pleased the Welsh Government has listened to our concerns over its initial proposals and deferred the consultation.
"I have been contacted by local people and businesses regarding these proposals and ensured that their voices were heard during this early stage.
"We are all aware of the congestion that occurs around Junction 41 but alternative options to improve traffic flow which do not include closure of any junctions around Port Talbot must now be developed.
"The statement clearly indicates this as a postponement and we must encourage all appropriate parties to make representations on the new proposals when the consultation reopens with revised those options."
Several residents have spoken out about the proposals.
Concerns have been raised that if junctions were closed back roads in Port Talbot would be become congested.
Although it has been suggested that roads and traffic hotspots could be improved if proposals to close junctions go ahead
At an Aberavon Pact meeting, one resident said: "If they get rid of the junctions you might as well build a wall around the town."