Jobs boom as £107m road gets under way
Taken from www.thisissouthwales.com
By Paul Lewis
WORK has started on Port Talbot’s biggest road project since the M4 was built, creating hundreds of jobs.
Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones attended a ceremony yesterday to launch the £107 million second and final phase of Harbour Way, the town’s peripheral distributor road.
It is expected to provide work for up to 600 people during the 33-month construction project.
Earlier this year, Mr Jones announced nearly £107 million from the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Regional Development Fund to complete the dual carriageway.
This will finish the 4.8km link to the M4 at junction 38 into Port Talbot and the docks, serving as a vital link to West Wales, the UK motorway network, the trunk road network and mainland Europe.
It will also make available up to 210 hectares of mainly brownfield land for development of small and medium enterprises and other industry with access to European markets, leading to jobs and regeneration.
Access to Port Talbot’s docks and deep water harbour will be improved, creating opportunities for transfer of freight from road to sea, increased shipping activity and waterfront development.
Mr Jones, who is also Minister for the Economy and Transport, said: “Despite challenging economic times we are determined to invest in capital projects that will bring long-term structural and economic benefits.
“Our new policy of economic renewal underlines the importance of building the right infrastructure to boost our economy and supporting people, communities and businesses.
“I am confident this road will prove of great benefit for South West Wales as a whole.”
A purpose-built visitor centre has been included in the site offices. It will be open to the public every Wednesday from 1pm to 6pm.
Visitors will be able to view an exhibition showing the route of the new road and a DVD giving a virtual “fly through” of the completed project.
The visitor centre will also be available for pre-arranged trips outside these hours by schools and community groups.
Council leader Ali Thomas said: “This strategic road will provide an attractive gateway to the town and open up development opportunities along the waterfront, in particular the harbour side and Port Talbot town centre regeneration areas.
“It will benefit local communities, visitors and businesses alike, and attract new investment and employment opportunities, not only during the construction period, but for generations to come.
“It will also improve access to local amenities and leisure facilities within the county borough, bolstering its already expanding tourism economy.”
Main contractor Costain’s managing director for infrastructure, Darren James, added: “Costain is delighted to be working in partnership with Neath Port Talbot Council to deliver another major infrastructure project in South Wales, funded through resources provided by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Convergence Fund.
“Costain is fully committed to constructing the scheme utilising local resources and employing local people, increasing the skills base and providing a boost to the local economy.”