M4 relief road hit with £130m cost rise

The Welsh Government’s biggest ever road scheme, the M4 relief road at Newport, has been hit by a £136m cost increase and two-year delay.

The news comes only a month after the government revealed delays and a 23% cost increase on its current scheme to dual part of the A465.

The controversial M4 Relief Road would avoid a bottleneck where the existing M4 passes through two-lane tunnels. It is now forecast to cost £1.3bn but the Government says the remodelled business case shows that the “black” route, which slices through Newport docks, still represents value for money.

New documents submitted to the scheme’s public inquiry, due to resume next month, outline a £136m docks remodelling to mitigate the road’s impact on port operations.

The hope is that port owner ABP, a statutory undertaker, will remove its formal objection.

Forecast completion has slipped by two years, to late 2023, because of the additional docks works and earlier issues around planning and traffic modelling.

The determining factor is the £300m cable-stayed bridge over the docks, which will have a 440-metre span. At 25 metres above water level, it will prevent some ships accessing the North Dock. The road scheme will fund alternative South Dock quays.

Plaid Cymru supports the cheaper “blue” route alternative, which would upgrade existing south Newport roads.

Plaid MP Jonathan Edwards said the Labour Welsh Government had promised the black route was a quick solution costing less than £1bn.

‘Three years later, costs have spiralled and years of delays have been added,’ he said.

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