Cardiff council refuses to reveal options its exploring for finishing Eastern Bay Link road
Alex Seabrook, local democracy reporter
Cardiff council is exploring various options for finishing the Eastern Bay Link road in Splott, but won’t reveal what they are.
Consultants Arcadis are currently carrying out a major study into how transport in south-east Cardiff can be improved.
This likely includes major upgrades to Rover Way, from the Ocean Way roundabout to Lamby Way, despite the Welsh Government’s freeze on building new roads.
But the council has refused to reveal what options the consultants are exploring, as this information could “lead to unintentional public concern”.
Phase two of the Eastern Bay Link could see the ring road around Cardiff completed, meaning the A4232 would connect from the A48 down to Cardiff Bay, potentially diverting lorries from driving through residential areas in Splott. The first phase, stretching from Queensgate roundabout in Cardiff Bay to the Ocean Way roundabout, was finished in 2017.
In June the Welsh Government announced a temporary freeze on funding new road building, pending a review. But last month it emerged Cardiff council is still pressing ministers for support for the new link road along Rover Way. Now, a recent freedom of information request has revealed Arcadis is exploring a range of options in a WelTAG stage one study.
It’s unclear when the study will be finished and published. The council has refused to reveal details of what options the consultants are looking at before the study is completed, as this could “misinform the public of the options available, and allow the public to think a certain outcome may be possible”.
WelTAG studies are detailed documents setting out the case for major public investment in new transport schemes funded by the Welsh Government. One recent WelTAG study in Cardiff—looking at the northwest transport corridor—proposed building two new train stations and bringing in express bus services, and also explored potential tram routes.
For the eastern transport corridor study, recent changes in Welsh Government transport policy means the consultants now have to factor in the impact on carbon emissions of any proposals, and weigh up how many drivers might instead choose to walk, cycle, or take the bus or train. But the council won’t yet say what proposals are actually being looked at.
The freedom of information response said: “The WelTAG stage one study has identified a number of alternative approaches to improve the transport links within south-east Cardiff, which included reviewing different levels of intervention along Rover Way.
“It is likely that in light of the additional work required, it becomes evident that certain suggestions cannot be progressed. This may lead to unintentional public concern or anticipation. It is in the public interest to allow the council to proceed with the additional required work, without outside influence.
“Misinforming the public would be likely to result in an increased amount of public authority resources, in the form of officer/member time spent dealing with unwarranted issues. The information will be published once the additional requirements are complete.”
Cardiff council would not say when the full report would be published.
A council spokesperson said: “The council is looking at a wide variety of interventions along Rover Way to improve transport links. It will also be considering a number of alternative approaches across south-east Cardiff including public transport links, bus and train travel, understanding the effect of the Metro and the increases being seen in active travel take up across the city, and the use of smart technology to improve traffic flow.
“Any feasibility study will have to take into account a large number of variables. That work is underway now and once it is completed it will be published as part of the WelTAG report, which would then go to consultation.”