HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc842-3
2. Mr. Martyn Jones (Clwyd, South)

What recent discussions he has had with his ministerial and National Assembly for Wales colleagues concerning improvements to the A483 south of Wrexham. [129537]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Don Touhig)

My right hon. Friend and I have regular discussions with ministerial and Assembly colleagues. The Highways Agency and the Assembly have recently carried out public consultation on a route management strategy for the A5/A483 trunk roads south of Wrexham. I hope that the results will be published later in the year.

Mr. Jones

Does my hon. Friend recall that in the late 1980s, when the road was improved by the Tories, they penny-pinched on the viaduct at Chirk and Acrefair? We ended up with a 10-metre carriageway which is both dangerous and, now, inadequate for the traffic that it is taking. Will my hon. Friend get together with his colleagues as soon as possible to ensure that the road is put right at the earliest opportunity?

Mr. Touhig

I understand my hon. Friend's frustration. The Tory years were characterised by a lack of funds for major projects of this kind and, given their current proposal for a 20 per cent. public expenditure cut, the road will soon be down to a grass track.

There are no plans for further dualling beyond Ruabon. The existing road is modern, and of a relatively high standard. Early indications from the public consultation suggest that more acceptable solutions are being considered. My colleagues in the Assembly recently undertook major resurfacing of the Newbridge bypass, and further discussions will take place about how we can make the route safer for all users.

Mr. Roger Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire)

The Minister's travels through Wales will have been delayed by the traffic lights between Llandrindod Wells and Newtown on the A483. Temporary traffic lights have been in place for 15 years. Will the Minister rejoice with me that the Assembly has got round to carrying out roadworks? I wonder, though, why the work was done in August, when people wanted to travel to the Eisteddfod in the constituency of my hon. Friend the Member for Montgomeryshire (Lembit Öpik), causing disruption to the tourist trade.

Mr. Touhig

I am glad that the traffic lights have been removed, because I shall be travelling along the road next week. There is probably a gap in people's lives now that the lights have gone, but I welcome what has happened.