Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport
This Written Statement provides an update on progress of the A55 Resilience Study which was carried out over the summer.
The WelTAG Stage 1 study has considered all aspects of the road from Holyhead to Post House, associated routes such as the A494 corridor from the Ewloe Interchange to Drome Corner and diversion routes. It has looked at where and how best to improve the travel experience and how to minimise the frequency and impact of incidents and breakdowns.
A number of quick win interventions have been identified which might reduce levels of congestion at critical times, improve communications with customers and stakeholders, improve incident response and clear up operations, improve our approach to asset management and improve diversion routes.
As a result of the study, we will be implementing a number of improvements including the installation of wireless CCTV and trial installation of incident detection software to allow us to better monitor traffic congestion. In conjunction with this, I have asked my officials to investigate the provision of additional variable message signing and enhanced online travel advice to assist road users with journey planning. We will also engage the services of a communications manager to oversee the proactive communication provision for customers across Wales.
We will be looking to extend the Traffic Officer provision at critical times, such as public holidays and will trial a free recovery scheme at key locations alongside this, to ensure that any incidents are dealt with as quickly as possible. I have also asked my officials to investigate the potential benefits of providing an additional Traffic Officer crew to patrol Anglesey and other areas.
The study has highlighted existing issues with traffic speeds at Rhuallt Hill westbound and, as a result, we will consider trialling average speed enforcement at this site.
All of these measures will complement existing plans for improvements along this key strategic route whilst continuing to ensure the disruption of road works is kept to an absolute minimum. With that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to confirm my aspiration that there will be no planned daytime lane closures on the A55 east of J11 (Llandygai) until the autumn of 2018; the last planned lane closure works on that section having been completed on 3 April 2017. We will as always need to react to any emergencies or unplanned incidents on the network. It is also important to note that in 2016/17, to minimise disruption to road users and to keep the A55 flowing at peak times, there were 336 nights during which essential maintenance works were undertaken on the A55.
Further short, medium and long term improvement options identified through the study will now be progressed to a Stage 2 WelTAG study for further appraisal.
A copy of the A55 Transport Appraisal Guidance (Weltag) Stage 1 Resilience Study Report is available to view online.