Wales’ terrible roads aren’t just an inconvenience – they’re lethal

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Angharad Shaw
Guest

A drive from Oslo (or pretty much anywhere in southern Norway) to Kirkenes will take you through Sweden and Finland. I know, I’ve done it.
Other than that, you’re right of course. There is, however, one benefit to the state of the roads. At least east-west. That is, the very low crime rate we experience here in Ceredigion. Criminal gangs have difficulty escaping before the police can catch up with them.

rubesco
Guest

Hefyd – ceisiwch fynd o Konibodom Tadjikistan i Murghab! Eto, mae’r eithriadau hyn yn dangos gwirionedd y rheol, gan ystyried ffurf y dirwedd yn y ddau achos: nid yw’n bosibl tynnu llinell syth ar fap heb fynd trwy’r wlad arall / y gwledydd eraill. Yn achos Cymru, nid daearyddiaeth ond gwleidyddiaeth yw’r rhwystr.

Gareth
Guest
Gareth

But in that particular case, a straight line between Oslo and Kirkenes takes you through Sweden and Finland, so it’s understandable that that is the quickest route.. A straight line from Bangor to Caerdydd doesn’t touch English soil.

SelFelin
Guest
SelFelin

On the same topic as Angharad Shaw….ever since the A55 we have had quite a few undesirables popping over for their crime fest. But the road/rail link between Caedrydd and Bangor is out of the dark ages. Gwarthus @llafurCymru

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

A comparison to Japan would be more apt, o ran tirwedd a hinsawdd (a hanes). Following WWII, Japan’s infrastructure was in shambles, with bridges and roads reduced to impassible rubble in places, and many would journey across their country by horse despite Japan having been one of the most technologically advanced nations in the world in the decades prior. After the war the United States invested in building Japan’s infrastructure and its entrepreneurial base to combat the influence of communism. Rather than munitions and weapons, which caused it to lose Vietnam and score a draw in Korea, this approached worked… Read more »

sibrydionmawr
Guest

So more taxpayer subsidies for capitalism then? I find this grossly offensive. If there should be any kind of investment in infrastructure, it should be for the benefit of ordinary citizens, and not just the desires of a few parasites. Oh, and by the way, it’s spelled ‘programme’, not program, which would only be correct if you were an American

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

I don’t care if you find it offensive. People need jobs so we must invest in the growth of our native businesses.

Jones o Gymru potato crisps. A business, proudly Welsh and suppliers of great jobs. Not parasites. Our infrastructure must support our businesses. They support the aspirations of our people.

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

Jobs so great that they pay a pittance no doubt, with the parasites who exploit stealing the difference between the wealth the workers create and what they are paid. And no reason why the workers couldn’t take over and run the factory themselves, thus deriving the fullest benefit possible from their labour.

I have no desire to exchange an English capitalist bastard for a Welsh capitalist bastard! For me there is no difference.

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

Well I see no difference between the Welsh worker and the English worker. It’s culture which is important.

sibrydionmawr
Guest

I’m sure you’d happily exploit both

Alun Davies
Guest
Alun Davies

Interestingly, “program” is the original spelling; “programme” was adopted in Britain in the 19th century from the French spelling. I guess people thought it looked sophisticated. The US did not make this change So should it matter that ‘Capitalist & Welshnash’ chose the American spelling of ‘program’ over the English version? I cant see why a Cymro should have any allegiance to the English form of spelling when it is his second language. Additionally you will find that despite Websters simplification of the english spelling, some American english words are more authentic than the ones in England. http://www.abroadintheyard.com/new-fangled-american-words-and-spellings-which-are-rooted-in-old-england/ So in… Read more »

Alun Davies
Guest
Alun Davies

Interestingly, “program” is the original spelling; “programme” was adopted in Britain in the 19th century from the French spelling. I guess people thought it looked sophisticated. The US did not make this change.

Sibrydionmawr
Guest
Sibrydionmawr

Yes, American English has retained many of the older English spellings, as well as their own simplified and arguably more logical spellings of other words. Canada is a little more confusing in that they tend spell words from the French the same way as in British English, but use US English spellings for other words.

Alun Davies
Guest
Alun Davies

Well given your knowledge on the subject, why pick on his grammatical choice as if it were an error. It seemed you wanted to attack the man and not his argument. A cheap shot. Frankly, given that english is likely his second language then he is not obliged to conform to either version of the spelling.
I speak for myself when I say that the Websters spelling is more predictable being phonetic, like perhaps ‘Capitalists & Welshnash’s’ first language.

Capitalist and Welshnash
Guest
Capitalist and Welshnash

My 3rd Language, actually. Thank you Alun.

Tame Frontiersman
Guest
Tame Frontiersman

Oni fyddai hanes cyfraniad syniadau LS Deming i Siapan yn wers fwy gwerthfawr i Gymru?

Mae Tsieina’ n gwario trilynau ar seilwaith yn Asia – “yi-dai-yi -lu”. Mae Arlwydd Trump wedi addo i wneud yr un peth yn yr UDA. O na byddai gan Gymru ffynhonellau mor ddwfn!

brighty
Guest
brighty

I agree with the general point – that we do not have a transport structure that is self sustaining – we currently need to use England’s structure to ensure we can travel from North to South. However, two points 1 – we need to think of better ways to fix this than to assume we need more/wider roads. We need to reconsider the amount of long distance travel needed – emphasise the local. We need to look at all other possible modes of transport, not just more roads. 2 – this statement “Winding, narrow roads mean that those who use… Read more »

Angharad Shaw
Guest

People never *have* to take risks (except insofar as getting in a car and driving off is a risk in itself). However, human nature says they do, And it is often innocent people (the driver coming the other way) who pays the price. This leads me on to the fallacy of introducing speed limits on country roads that are slower than the average motorist would otherwise drive it. There are a good number of people who will exceed what they perceive to be a “stupid” speed limit, and will take risks to get past vehicles who are obeying the speed… Read more »

brighty
Guest
brighty

There are risks and there are unnecessary risks. My post was clearly about unnecessary ones i.e. overtaking, where it isn’t safe, because a driver is being held up. Once someone decides their time is worth breaking the consensus, that overtaking needs totally clear views, that the speed limit is X, etc. then they have made that decision, they have not been forced or persuaded into it. The fault is theirs, not the limit or the road. I think the response from the police is correct. The correct response to idiots deciding they know the correct speed to use a road… Read more »

Tregaron 1@yahoo.co.uk
Guest
Tregaron 1@yahoo.co.uk

It’s not the road that is dangerous!M!,,,,,!M!!! It’s the stupid drivers who do not respect other drivers, . As soon as they get behind the wheel, they become blinkered and don’t read what is ahead of them . There are speed limits on all roads for your safety, acknowledge them , abay them. Therefore arrive at your destination. Become an arrival and not a statistic.

sibrydionmawr
Guest

There is little to be gained over a long journey in Wales by driving like the clappers. Keeping to an average 45-50 mph is still covering ground, and give far more margin for maintaining control as adverse conditions arise. It also puts far less stress on driver and vehicle, which has advantages in maintenance costs, fuel costs, tyre costs, driver stress and polluting emissions. Car crashes are never good, and sometimes road layouts don’t help, but by and large it is driver error, or just plain stupidity that causes these collisions – I won’t call them accidents, as most aren’t… Read more »

Mabon
Guest

I agree with you that Wales’s situation is very strange and quite frankly frustrating, but are you suggesting that we should built a six lane motorway through Snowdonia?

David Jones
Guest
David Jones

I don’t know what is being suggested as a solution. But I would suggest a North-South railway would be far superior to a road.

Alun Davies
Guest
Alun Davies

I disagree that a railway connection North-South would be in any way sufficient to addressing the issue. Whilst railways are good for connecting one population centre with another, Cymru is largely rural. Why would I drive my car to the train station. Pay for parking, pay through the nose for a return ticket, and when I get to the station the other side I still have to get to my place of work which could be any distance, my car is at the first station so I need a taxi or bus or walk and now its starting to rain.… Read more »

Tegid
Guest

What pessimistic nonsense this is, and I would love to hear more…

Alun Davies
Guest
Alun Davies

So Tegid, you’re going to dismiss my statement as ‘Nonsense’ without qualifying why. Just to bait me to say more so you can issue the next baseless retort.
Surprise me with an explanation next time and I’ll get onto the my thoughts on rail redevelopment after I get back from work.

Tegid
Guest

This: “Why would I drive my car to the train station. Pay for parking, pay through the nose for a return ticket, and when I get to the station the other side I still have to get to my place of work which could be any distance, my car is at the first station so I need a taxi or bus or walk and now its starting to rain.” is pessimistic whataboutery throughout. Conversly, my local rail station happens to have free parking right next to it, a return ticket is reasonable (many routes still are today, despite ridicilous prices… Read more »

Alun Davies
Guest
Alun Davies

Ok Tegid, point taken. Pessimism is evidently prevalent in my point. I was thinking about large employers like the NHS. In Llanelli, Carmarthen, Aberystwyth & Bangor hospitals are all a long way from the train stations. Same goes for patients as well as employees. Your place of work may be a short walk from the station and an anorak may suffice, but it stands to reason that most peoples places of work is not near the station. Most stations are situated near historical industrial areas so as to carry freight. Industries that are no longer there. I think that the… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

I don’t think it would need to be six lane, or even that there would actually be room for six lanes, but there is a delicate issue here. Are we going to continue to allow our economy to be crippled because some people from Liverpool and Birmingham enjoy gawping at our scenery? Conversely, are we going to devalue an iconic landscape that we ourselves enjoy, in order that the people of Cardiff can commune more conveniently with the people of Bangor? Maybe the answer would be to build a network of super-fast steam railways. No-one would possibly object to that,… Read more »

David Jones
Guest
David Jones

It wouldn’t need to be a railway with steam engines. If anything we need to get away from re-building heritage lines, and get into building useful community and commuter lines. There are likely to be far fewer objections to a railway versus road building.
Many of the lines/routes that have be ripped up over the years could be reinstated to provide a better service. There are many suggestions for how this could be done, google ‘north south railway wales’ for a flavour.
The most well known proposal is outlined briefly here; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/dec/30/comment-and-debate.
Interesting options here too; http://oggybloggyogwr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/linking-north-and-south-wales-by-rail.html

Rob
Guest
Rob

The bit about using steam to appease those obsessed with the tourist economy was a, um, joke.

Tony Franks
Guest

The lack of fast transport in many parts of Wales maintains the natural character of Wales.
Before you rush into what we would gain, think about what we would use.
If you need to get to far flung places quickly and frequently, rural Wales might not be a good place for you to live.

Tony Franks
Guest

…lose, not use.

Methusalada74
Guest

Having lived in North wales for 10 years & occasionally making the trip to Cardiff by car, I concur with the experiences of Ifan Morgan Jones. It is a dangerous & frightening experience. So much so that I now rarely make such a journey & when I have to I use the motorway route on the East side of Wales in England. As an Englishman l appreciate the comment that North Wales & South Wales are two different countries, North Wales being more cultured in humanity where it’s farming communities fight an ongoing battle to survive & exist . The… Read more »

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

Sounds too much like good common sense nation-building. Let’s build it and if its a road then raise the speed limit to 100mph – imagine Llanelli to Bangor in under two hours, with slips off to Camarthen, Lampeter, Aber, Machynlleth, Dolgellau and Caernarfon. All cars will be either electric or hybrids soon anyway, with power provided by renewables, so could well become one of the greenest ways to travel. As for the pretty countryside and rural environment – maybe the train is an alternative option, but paint it green with pretty flowers on and do some land reclamation on areas… Read more »

Lizzy
Guest
Lizzy

As a frequent traveller to Cardiff from North Wales for work, I empathise completely with the author of this article. Over the last few months the A55 has been completely closed due to accidents almost daily at some point – never mind for any repair work that is required. The surrounding roads then immediately become blocked as well. In relation to travelling to Cardiff I use the train, as it is no quicker to drive. There is only a direct train every two hours, otherwise you have to change at Crewe and get on the ‘shuttle’ between Crewe and Chester,… Read more »

Beaty Davies
Guest

Brighty…..Way to go at missing the point the article is making! Jeeeesh!
Wales needs better transport links between North and South. Absolutely spot on.

Brigjty
Guest
Brigjty

Silly reply. The article makes a lot of points. I decided to respond to some of them. I’m capable of handling, and the author of writing, more than point at a time.

Welsh Man
Guest
Welsh Man

Re-working the landscape to serve the interests of nationalism. How 19th Century.

Pen-Cloch
Guest
Pen-Cloch

It could be argued that is the ‘tirlun’ that has been the saviour of the Welsh Language,especially in North Wales. If Wales was as flat as the Netherlands there might be no language left. I would concur, the A487 is a beast of a road but these are roads built to withstand 1950’s traffic and not the Mansel Davies trucks eulogised in song. Let’s get the Aberystwyth – Carmarthen Railway up and running and forget Bow-Street Station, yet another stop that will delay the journey from Birmingham to Aberystwyth and just a vanity project from Welsh Labour to stop overcrowding… Read more »

Dafydd Thomas
Guest
Dafydd Thomas

The comparison with Norway is not a good one, after all from Oslo to the north of Norway is the same distance as from Oslo to Rome. In Cymru we are barely entering three figures in mileage. It’s absolutely incredible that we can’t have a decent road, infrastructure is an alien word in the assembly. The road from Oslo to the north is better than we have, much much longer of course and I know it’s safer, having driven it when living in Norway.

Thomas Moseley
Guest

I agree with everything you say and any further detail would be superfluous. Some excellent advances were achieved when John Morris was Secretary of State for Wales, many years ago:: for example the dual carriageway from Raglan to Abergavenny and the by-pass around Talgarth; but very little has been achieved north of that. Everyone complains about the dangers of the A44 which is part of the north/south route but very little seems to be done about that. Is it laziness, bureacracy/inefficiency, lack of funds? Despite 40 years of complaining I have received no explanation and achieved nothing useful: not even… Read more »

March Nerth
Guest
March Nerth

Agree with a lot of this – but you know what the response will be… panacea lower speed limits! They are always being dumbed down as its cheap and creates jobs! Sod the frustration or desire to actually get from Cardiff to Holyhead before they turn the clocks back! I know this road like the back of my hand and use all the horsepower to safely and quickly nip past those HGV’s limited to 40 or those others limited by their sightseeing desires or big white bodywork! The UTTER sheer absurdity of what they did in Dolgellau in making one… Read more »

Richard Perkins
Guest
Richard Perkins

There is a Welsh public sector and a few spin offs but to talk of a Welsh economy at the moment is to take the concept beyond breaking point. A Welsh Economy is largely something yet to happen. It could only begin to happen with an adequate transport infrastructure which could only happen in spite of commercial calculations. Of course the ideal would be a road/ rail link through Wales itself helping create an economy as well as forging a nation but given the vagaries of the planning system, the expense of building through mountains and the lack of political… Read more »

Rob
Guest
Rob

Those of us in the middle deserve decent communications, too. It’s not just about Cardiff and Bangor. The economies of small towns like Llanidloes, Llandrindod and Brecon are shrivelling.

Tame Frontiersman
Guest
Tame Frontiersman

Smart, diver-less, battery or fuel cell powered vehicles are probably the answer to safe, environmentally-friendly* high speed travel on narrow, winding Welsh roads. (* Problem of PM10 particulates generated by rubber on tarmac needs some work and there’s much scope to develop improved surfaces to reduce maintenance cost from wear by traffic and weather). I think it very important to integrate economic development and infrastructure in a small country like Wales. Build the infrastructure first on the “build and they will come” principle and there may be a range of undesired consequences: rural areas become dorms, you created a thieves’… Read more »

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

Dreams aside a decent road from north to South Wales will never happen because of the geography.There is no demand for mass traffic across the sparsely populated area. Such a road would destroy what remains of the Welsh language by opening up rural Wales to English migration. I agree with Ifan that the drive can be frustrating. However at a steady 50mph you never have to overtake anyone and have time to take in the splendour of the Welsh countryside. Another option is learn to fly. Swansea is only a 45 minutes hop away from Caernarfon and a cheap old… Read more »

sibrydionmawr
Guest

English migration into rural Wales is already contributing to the destruction of the Welsh language, as east-west roads have existed for centuries

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

I can’t believe so many would be opposed to this on the grounds of the environment and aesthetics – we didn’t mess up the South Wales valleys and exploit it – the English did and left us with the holes in the ground and no money to remedy it – the only thing wrong with what happened is that we didn’t do it for ourselves and ensure that we had the funds and will to remedy the damage and do it with a bit more ethics. Also those who think the best solution for culture and language is isolation. The… Read more »

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

Trailerboy…If I may quote you.. “we didn’t mess up the South Wales valleys and exploit it – the English did and left us with the holes in the ground and no money to remedy it”.

The industrial revolution was not unique to South Wales. The same happened in North East Wales and across the Midlands and North of England.

Trailorboy
Guest
Trailorboy

Plenty of people have a right be feel aggrieved – the ones outside of Wales can fight their own corner and many of the descendants of those who did well are still living on the proceeds of the wealth from those days. It’s tax revenues also helped to forge some of the assets in the UK treasury, while we have always had to go cap in hand to London to try to devise a new economy, with what we inherited. It doesn’t change the facts about what happened in South Wales (or North East Wales), just because the ones who… Read more »

Aled Williams
Guest
Aled Williams

Im sure the 1st photo is of the A5 at Llyn Ogwen . Many collisions here over the years . Luckily not involving me . Maybe I’m lucky , after all i do nearly 50,000 Miles a year mainly on these types of roads, or Maybe I just use my common sense and drive to the given road type and conditions . notice the use of the word “collision ” not “Accident”. As for improving the roads? well , they’ve improved in places for the larger vehicles and for the people who cant drive . I dont want to see… Read more »

sianiflewog
Guest
sianiflewog

With that many deaths, the cost of all the inquiries would just about pay for a new road. Just had a terrifying trip from Dolgellau to Machynlleth on bws T2 (some of you bourgeois Marxists wouldn’t know about that service . . .) going over the pass past Cader Idris: bus was late, and driver trying to catch up time – i was imagining how it would feel if the bus shot over the rail into the gorge below. Road transport is devolved to our Cynulliad, and so it is on labor’s shoulders we should place the blame for the… Read more »

sibrydionmawr
Guest

What are you on about? I doubt that you’d find a single Marxist Leninist in the Welsh Labour Party of today, and those who went on to join Plaid Cymru after the dissolution of ‘communism’ in the early 90s should be described as ex Marxists, and most of those were Eurocommunists, so hardly in thrall to Lenin.

Robert Williams
Guest
Robert Williams

An important article that has brought a – large! – mixed bag of responses, many of which by galloping off in all directions on a variety of hobby horses exemplify the difficulty of holding a rational, focussed discussion leading to operable conclusions on any issue affecting Wales. I personally have no technical knowledge that would advance this discussion, but I do think there is one salient point: Wales’s present pattern of relatively good communications east-west, facilitating easy movement of goods and people to and from England, along with terrible communications north-south, nurturing the idea of separate nations, is a disaster… Read more »

sibrydionmawr
Guest

I think there is a case to be made that we insist that the seat of government is moved to somewhere in Mid Wales, like Machynlleth, which would then alter the political focus of the country, a kind of Welsh Brasilia, but perhaps without the huge city. Following that I think we’d find that north-south road communications would improve dramatically, as well as things like broadband.

Alun Davies.
Guest
Alun Davies.

Spot on Sibrydionmawr.
I can see that Machynlleth would be a good choice to locate the assembly because, as you said, so much else including improved transport links would naturally fall into place.
Cynically i’m starting to think that Mach would then benefit from having expensive art installations and posh restaurants and all else AM’s and their entourage would require including the all important North-South transport links.

Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

Maybe even a new airport! Why would anyone want to destroy a lovely little Welsh town? As a few others have remarked there is no need for new roads. Just slow down and enjoy the wonderful landscape. I drive everywhere at 50mph and never have to overtake anyone. Better still avoid a lifestyle that requires long distance driving.

Alun Davies.
Guest
Alun Davies.

I cant disagree with your points. Regarding relocating the assembly to Machynlleth – It is for its central location nationally and its historic link to parliament . Destroy is too strong a word. Change – yes, for better or worse would depend on the skill full handling. I read your bit about owning a plane, well done you. For the rest of us though, we’ll have to wait for automated flying taxis probably. Besides, judging by what I can glean form you on here I’d guess that you are in a fairly high economic class. Maybe not in comparison to… Read more »

Pen-Cloch
Guest
Pen-Cloch
Ann Owen
Guest
Ann Owen

Just returned from a visit to North East Wales from Ceredigion, and I have now found a route that is so quiet and peaceful-and A/B roads all the way- that I’m not going to publicise it in case others copy me! Its a journey that always take about the same time whatever vehicle I’m in. During the same ‘trip’ I also drove along the A55 from Chester to Bangor. All I can say is ‘be careful what you wish for’-I’ll say no more!

Lizzy
Guest
Lizzy
Mike Flynn
Guest
Mike Flynn

There is a much easier solution to Ifan’s commute from Ceredigion to Bangor.

Instead of spending millions of public money upgrading the route he could move closer to his place of work.

After ten years in Bangor it appears he is committed to a career there.

It will also reduce his carbon footprint and remove another car from the A487.

I wonder how many other unnecessary journeys could be eliminated across Wales.