Many people in the Raglan area are becoming increasingly concerned by the number of accidents on the A40 dual carriageway. As I was heading home from the Abergavenny Steam Rally over the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend, an accident involving two cars took place by the A40/Warrage Road junction. Gwent Police are still investigating and it would be wrong to speculate what happened. But there were injuries. We have a situation where vehicles coming out of Raglan along Monmouth Road and wanting to turn right must cross busy and speeding traffic. Raglan Community Council is calling for the Welsh Transport Minister to visit, which I fully support. This is a dangerous stretch of road and Welsh Government needs to work with the local community to find a solution. My thoughts are with the people who were injured and I wish them all the very best in their recovery.
I had a fascinating meeting on Friday with National Highways to discuss the essential programme of M48 Severn Bridge cable inspections starting next week. It will be 56 years in September since the bridge opened and the two main suspension cables are a ripe old age. We must not forget that this Grade-I listed structure is a huge piece of steel sat in a hostile environment over the Severn Estuary. The whole deck of the bridge is attached to these cables - which are made up of 8,322 5mm diameter parallel high tensile steel strands - and it would be catastrophic if they failed. A cable inspection in 2006 found there was significant corrosion caused by moisture that had entered very small spaces between the 5mm wires. Mitigation action was taken to prevent the corrosion from becoming a problem and ensure the bridge remains safe for years to come. Acoustic monitors identify any wire breaks and there is a dehumidification system. The last inspection was in 2016. Now it’s time to inspect the cables again. This unfortunately means there will be some inconvenience and disruption to local residents, as well as those who use the route regularly. But the works are vital to safeguarding the long-term viability of the bridge. It all gets underway on 22 June with the closure of one lane westbound and one eastbound starting on 14 July. The overall programme of works is scheduled to last around eight months until January 2023. There will also be three weekend closures to lift the high-level inspection gantries, with the first coming on 25 and 26 June. Follow the progress of the works on the dedicated webpage: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/our-work/south-west/m48-severn-bridge-suspension-cable-inspections/
*Published in the Monmouthshire Beacon on 15 June 2022 and the Abergavenny Chronicle on 16 June 2022*