New regeneration chapter for Port Talbot as multi-million pound road officially opens
A NEW chapter in the economic regeneration of Port Talbot has begun with the official opening of a multi-million road.
First Minister Carwyn Jones has attended the launch of Harbour Way — the £107 million dual carriageway — that is hoped to regenerate the docks and ease congestion on the M4.
Work has now been fully completed on the relief road. Since mid-August all sections were accessible but there were restrictions for motorists to allow the final stage of works to take place.
Mr Jones said the project is a "leading light" in terms of local job creation and economic regeneration.
He said: "There is a lot happening in the town and it is important for the town to maximise its potential.
"This road will open up the land for a big economic drive and it takes the pressure off the M4 as Port Talbot is a narrow section."
The three year project has been managed and delivered by Neath Port Talbot Council in partnership with construction contractor, Costain.
Council leader Ali Thomas said the project "means so much" to the town, the county and to the wider Swansea Bay area.
He said: "There is opportunity for development that surpasses everything we have had available before."It is phenomenal and we are still developing. The challenges will be great, but we are up for it."
Managing director of Costain, Darren James, said the project has been a great success.
He said they have been able to employ 2,500 people during the whole scheme."Costain is very proud of its team," he said. "Out of those employed, 87 per cent were local and were from the SA postcode area and the two postcodes adjacent."
He added that they have also worked alongside the council's Workways team to help local unemployed people back into work.
In total 41 local residents have secured sustainable jobs on the Harbour Way construction project, and local schools and university students have benefited from over 50 weeks of work experience over the project lifetime.
Plans are now in place for further development phases of the wider Harbourside Park development.
The overall site has the capacity to accommodate an additional 75,000 square foot of space with a potential investment of over £12 million and creation of a further 700 new jobs.
There are plans in the pipeline by NPTC Group (formerly Neath Port Talbot College) to build a new £28 million campus with a dedicated sixth-form centre in the docks area.