Road closure in village causes traffic chaos
Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter
A road closure is causing “terrible” traffic on a main route through a Rhondda village as part of work which has just started – and is meant to last months.
Repairs to a bridge at Maindy Road in Ton Pentre began on Monday, July 24 and is casing heavy traffic on the B4233, according to local residents and businesses.
The first closure is the bridge near numbers 1 and 2 Maindy Road, which will be in place for the entire scheme and means there will not be emergency service access.
There will be pedestrian access at first but there may be periods during the work when it is unsafe to maintain access.
The second closure is at Pentwyn Road (from 8am to 5pm daily), which will prevent through-traffic from using Bailey Street as a diversion, on the grounds of safety.
The council said that Bailey Street is unsuitable for larger traffic volumes usually seen on the B4233, being a narrower residential street that also contains a school.
This closure will be staffed, with access maintained for emergency services, cyclists and pedestrians.
Jess Jones from Roots florist in Ton Pentre, which offers a delivery service, said: “It’s taking half hour longer to deliver to Treorchy way.
“The traffic is terrible going through Ton Pentre even with it being six weeks holiday and midday.
“I dread to think what will happen during school times. In terms of business I can’t see anyone wanting to travel to visit shops if they can’t get there at a reasonable time which is sad for businesses in the area.”
Gail Sibley who lives in Ystrad and uses the road regularly said: “It’s absolutely terrible.”
She said she takes her grandson to Treorchy Comprehensive and doesn’t understand how the council came up with this idea, suggesting that Bailey Street could have remained opened.
Gail added that Rhondda Cynon Taf council mentions the safety of the children but claims it is the parents that cause the safety issues around the school when they try to get as close to the school as possible with no consideration for other children, adding that there are lots of schools that are on main roads like Gelli school.
“I feel so sorry for everyone that lives from Ton Pentre up to the top of the valley who has no other means than having to wait in this chaos.
“Before this work started you would normally be in the queue waiting from Treorchy Rugby Club so you can only imagine it now.”
But Angharad Walters from the Love Treorchy Business Improvement District said: “The closure of the Maindy bridge will obviously impact people’s travel habits, but at the moment we have seen no impact on the traffic in Treorchy, and we are in communication with the council to try and mitigate any potential issues that may arise. We always keep in contact when works such as these take place, and this is no different.
“It does seem that social media is used more and more to stir people’s emotions and to get a reaction. Treorchy is a fantastic town, and we do not want to see small businesses impacted by less footfall in response to what potentially might not even be that big a problem.”
The council’s website said the work is greatly complicated by utility infrastructure on the bridge, and measures will be in place to reduce local disruption as much as possible.
The bridge carries B4223 Maindy Road at a location near the police station, just south of the junction with The Parade. The council said the structure is in a very poor condition and Calibre Contracting Ltd will replace the bridge deck with work ending in the late winter.
The structure itself is relatively small, but it carries key pipes and apparatus for water, gas, electricity and fibre optic connections. A large proportion of the work will redirect and reinstall the connections – and the council is reliant upon the availability of external agencies to carry out these utility works.
The scheme is absolutely necessary as the structure is an ongoing risk, the council said. If the repairs are not done in a planned way now, it risks an emergency closure in the future which would last even longer. Doing the work now could also see the council benefit from key Welsh Government funding for Storm Dennis repairs this financial year (2023/24), which would not be available next year.
Alternative routes put forward by the council include the following:
From 8am-5pm, when both road closures are in operation:
From north-west of the closure, proceed via Pentwyn Road, Park Crescent, Station Road, A4058 High Street, Llewellyn Street, Ystrad Street, Ystrad Road, Church Road, and Bailey Street/Maindy Road.
From south-east of the closure, proceed via Maindy Road/Bailey Street, Church Road, Ystrad Road, Llewellyn Street, A4058 High Street, Station Road, Park Crescent, Pentwyn Road and Maindy Road.
Outside of 8am-5pm –when only Maindy Road closure is in operation:
From north-west of the closure, proceed via Maindy Road, Pentwyn Road, Park Crescent, Station Road, A4058 High Street, Llewellyn Street, Ystrad Road and Church Road.
From south-east of the closure, Maindy Road Church Road, Ystrad Road, Llewellyn Street, A4058 High Street, Station Road, Park Crescent, Pentwyn Road and Maindy Road.
The council also said it will put a series of measures in place, recognising the travel disruption the work will likely cause including increasing traffic flow at Stag Square in Treorchy, which forms part of the diversion route.
The council said there will be greater enforcement of stopping vehicles at Stag Square and surrounding roads, and the council will work closely with local businesses to best plan deliveries.
It said that the traffic light sequence will be adjusted to promote traffic flow, recycling/waste collections will be planned for early mornings, and only absolutely urgent work will be allowed to roads on the diversion route.
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