Why are the works so complicated?
For a number of reasons. Firstly, and mainly, because there are a number of different elements required, particularly beneath the road surface: the entire set of new utilities and drainage infrastructure – gas, water, electricity, sewers, and telecommunications – is being installed to serve Plasdŵr, which will be a major new suburb of up to 7,000 homes.
Above the surface we are also widening Llantrisant Road to accommodate a bus lane and are also adding dedicated cycle lanes on the north and south sides, off the highway. The roundabout will also be changed to a signalised junction.
Besides the need to provide utilities into Plasdŵr, the reasons for the roadworks along Llantrisant Road are rooted in Cardiff Council’s city-wide active travel strategy – to ensure that people can choose to walk, cycle and use public transport rather than drive. As a new development, Plasdŵr has to underpin that strategy.
Is it more complicated than was first anticipated?
It was always going to be complex because of the amount of work to be done above and beneath the ground. But, yes, there have been factors such as existing utility infrastructure underground that we weren’t aware of and have had to work around, which does cause delays.
Were the works always going to take this long – was summer 2020 always the end date?
We had originally hoped to complete these works earlier but the reality is that work of this nature can be delayed by unforeseeable events, such as the discovery, during excavation, of uncharted, existing utility infrastructure. So, unfortunately, timescales can change.
While we believe the works at this junction will be ongoing until summer 2020, we will not be working on the road throughout as much of what needs to be done will take place off the highway.
Will the bus and cycle lanes extend to Cardiff?
We will be creating a dedicated bus lane throughout the border of Llantrisant Road with Plasdŵr (between Crofft y Genau Road to the west and the filling station in the east). The local authority is planning more bus lanes beyond our boundary, to which we are contributing via our Section 106 agreement.
A lot of people are complaining that it doesn’t look like much work is being done at certain times of the day. How is the timetable of work managed?
Our contractors’ teams are working hard to complete the work as soon as possible but sometimes operational issues mean that there is some standing around, or, for example, a banksman may be required for health and safety reasons. There are explanations for people seemingly standing around, but we understand that it can be really frustrating to see when you’re sitting in traffic.
How long are the roadworks going to take? Is the completion date for the whole scheme still August 2020?
The works around this section of Llantrisant Road are scheduled for completion in summer 2020, although they do not all involve working on the highway. We are currently going through the 2020 work schedule to minimise disruption for any work required in the carriageway. There are further works to be carried out along Llantrisant Road, including road widening for the new bus lane and cycle lane, and the construction of three new junctions, the next being between Clos Parc Radur and Goitre Fach. Moving forward we are planning to share more detail on these plans with the local community.
Can we have the comprehensive breakdown on the work that still needs to be completed on the section of Llantrisant Road between the Heol Isaf roundabout and the Westward Ho petrol station?
Our contractors are currently finalising highway drainage in the southern lane of the road. Once that is complete, next steps are to resurface the carriageway and install a pedestrian crossing. Then further utilities works, including existing gas main protection works and diversion of telecommunications, will be carried out further up the carriageway by the Heol Isaf roundabout. Once these are complete, the Heol Isaf roundabout will be removed and a four-way, signalised junction installed in its place.
Why has the completion date of the latest section be put back by two weeks if the number of people working on it has doubled?
The current work we are doing is to make the drainage we’ve been installing operational, in order to minimise the risk of standing water on the road turning to ice when the weather becomes colder. This requires a 2.5-metre deep, 750mm-wide trench and the recent wet weather has also caused delays because of the bad underground conditions. So, Alun Griffiths Contractors doubled the number of workers to ensure completion as quickly as possible.
Why has it been so bad in the past two weeks?
The work outlined above required 24-hour lights to maintain safe routes for traffic and pedestrians. Previously we had automatic three-way lights in place, and removed them in response to complaints that queues were building up during peak times while people were waiting needlessly when the road was clear at off-peak times. So this time we didn’t reinstall three-way lights and there have been issues with traffic accessing Llantrisant Road from Heol Isaf during peak times. Since yesterday we have manually operated three-way lights at peak times: this worked well this morning and we will keep monitoring the traffic flow.