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Saturday, 26 November 2011

The A470 bypass! It's open!

The New Road – It’s open!
Living in Mid Wales you come to expect that getting anywhere takes a huge amount of
time – mainly because anywhere you might want to take a proper trip to, is far
from here, but also because the roads are still on the old routes that the drovers
took and they didn’t mind the windy bits.

Our village is cut in half by a trunk road and as we scuttle across the road with
massive lorries bearing down, we cry, “Run! Run for your lives!” to anyone we
are dragging across with us. There were big plans to bypass the village and I
thought that this would be good – in my mind, the pedestrian should be king and
this would solve many of our other problems: people stop and chat, they get to
know each other and so take an interest, they get fit (well, fitter than they
would be if they drove the half mile to the shop and back), and their dogs crap
in a range of places, rather than it all being concentrated in the children’s
play area with the parking space next to it.

But, then the recession hit, and the Welsh Office was looking to cut back, so it
decided to shelve the village bypass and instead turn the section of road
leading to the village into a race track on a sixty-foot-high bund. To us, this
has the double whammy of not only not by-passing the village, but also
increasing the traffic speed of the cars entering the village by about 20 miles
per hour: it’s actually quite hard to speed on drover’s routes, but really
really easy on a nice sweeping bend with barriers either side…

People have been concerned, as well as incredulous, about the effect of the road on
the safety in the village, and we were promised a “gateway” feature that would
warn vehicles that they were entering a built up area that children would love
to play in. This, we were told, would ensure that cars would enter at 30mph, and
would potter through smiling and waving us across the road. Imagine our disappointment
when a “totem pole” was erected – a piece of 12” by 12” wood that looked
suspiciously like it had been swapped from the sawmills that sits next to the
contractor’s compound in return for a bit of tarmac for their potholes.

Yesterday we went to the nearby town. We drove down along the drovers’ route and by the
time we came back the road had been opened! Fantastic! The view from the top of
the high bund meant we could see for miles. There were some great dogging
laybys and we were able to exceed the speed limit for nearly the whole route. Sadly,
I didn’t even notice the 12 x 12 totem pole as I flashed by, so I can’t comment
on how effective it was.

I can’t wait for Carwyn Jones to come up and see it next week…