Almost £27 million will be spent on transport schemes across Wales in an effort to support economic growth, improve safety and promote walking and cycling.
Transport Minister Edwina Hart announced the funding during a visit to the construction site for phase two of the Cross Hands Link Road, in Carmarthenshire, which has received a £450,000 grant.
The road will open up the Cross Hands East strategic employment site, with the potential to create up to 1,500 new jobs. It will also provide access to a housing and mixed use development at Emlyn Brickworks and improve journey times along the M4/A48/A40 corridor by alleviating pressure on the Cross Hands roundabout.
Mrs Hart said: “This new road is vital to Carmarthenshire Council’s economic development plans and will be a spur to create hundreds of new jobs. It’s an excellent example of the type of schemes supported through the Local Transport Fund to drive our priorities for jobs and growth, by improving access to employment sites and Enterprise Zones. Nearly £16m has been awarded through that fund to more than 30 road, public transport and active travel projects across Wales.
“I am also pleased to announce £11 million for more than 60 schemes to improve road safety and to encourage more people to walk and cycle in our communities.”
Carmarthenshire County Council executive board member for technical services Cllr Colin Evans said: “The County Council is delighted that the Minister has supported investment into infrastructure that is essential to developing the economy in South West Wales. The continued development of infrastructure in the area will help speed up journey times on the critical A48 and East West link and the A476. It will also open up land for development and provide benefits for the wider City region. I am pleased that the Minister has supported our plans and look forward to working with the Wales Government on future developments in South West Wales.”
The grants have been awarded through three different schemes, from which local authorities can bid for money to support their projects.
The Local Transport Fund of £15.7m will benefit 18 different local authorities, with grants awarded for 35 public transport, road and active travel projects.
A total of £3.95 million in road Safety Capital grants will fund 31 schemes to reduce road casualties in 14 local authorities.
The £5.05m Safe Routes in Communities grant will support 33 schemes to improve walking and cycling routes to schools and other community facilities in 21 local authorities.
In addition, funding of nearly £2m will be released for road safety education and training programmes for high risk and vulnerable groups, such as children, young people, older drivers and motorcyclists.