Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Members have agreed a £27.665m Capital Programme for Highways, Transportation and Strategic Projects in 2023/24 – continuing the Council’s significant investment in these priority areas into the next financial year.
Cabinet approved the programme at their meeting this week, making capital allocations of £10.725m (Highways Technical Services) and £16.940m (Strategic Projects) for the financial year starting April 1, 2023. The funding will help maintain, repair, improve and future-proof Rhondda Cynon Taf’s highway and transportation network, with targeted investment to respond to people’s changing travel demands and the effects of Climate Change.
The programme complements major external funding available across a number of areas. A fully-funded programme of work repairing bridges, roads, culverts and retaining walls following Storm Dennis continues to be funded by Welsh Government in 2023/24 – along with enhanced inspections, maintenance and major remediation of coal tips linked to climate change.
Bids are also submitted to Welsh Government for several transport projects next year – Active Travel, the Welsh Government initiative related to default 20mph speed limit, Safe Routes in Communities and other capital projects under the Local Transport Fund, along with road safety revenue funding.
The Council also continues to engage with the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and delivery of the South Wales Metro. The £50m Metro+ Programme is progressing, which will see the Porth Transport Hub completed in 2023.
Highways Technical Services will receive (£10.725m).
The Programme allocates £4.014m funding for carriageways. It includes significant funding to undertake detailed investigations, analysis and development of proposals to address the major fire damage related to the rock netting on the Rhigos Mountain Road. It also includes a pool of previously-agreed road resurfacing schemes – plus 41extra schemes that are listed in an Appendix to Monday’s Cabinet report.
In addition, £486,000 is allocated for footway renewals, which includes a pool of previously-agreed schemes and 20 extra schemes listed in the report. For unadopted roads, a£300,000 allocation extends the programme by five schemes – in Tonyrefail, Ystrad, Llwydcoed, Penrhiwfer and Hirwaun. Street lighting and traffic signal renewalswill use £540,000 of allocated funding.
A total Highways Structures budget of £4.45m will support schemes including – Bodringallt Bridge (Ystrad), Imperial Bridge (Porth), Graig Las Bridge (Hendreforgan), Lanelay Bridge (Talbot Green) and Rhigos Road Rock Anchors (Blaenrhondda). The funding also covers several retaining wall and confined space culvert repairs.
For Parks Structures, £250,000 new funding plus a previously-agreed £530,000 allocation will progress the major refurbishment of Colliery Street Footbridge in Trehafod and other projects.
In addition, small scale Traffic Management schemes (£110,000) and ongoing work to repair and upgrade car parks (£45,000) are also funded.
The Welsh Government-funded programme for Storm Dennis repairs in Rhondda Cynon Taf amounts to £20.1m next year. Key schemes include the Castle Inn Bridge replacement in Treforest, Berw Road (White Bridge) in Pontypridd, Tynybryn Footbridge in Tonyrefail and Feeder Pipe Footbridge in Abercynon. A full list of schemes is included in the Cabinet report’s Appendix.
Strategic Projects (£16.940m):
The Council consistently benefits from Welsh Government support for Land Drainage/Flood Risk improvements with the Council match-funding 15% of the value. A series of bids have been submitted for new funding for 2023/24. The full list of schemes that would benefit from this funding is included in the Cabinet report. Funding bids are also submitted to the Small Scale Works and Resilient Roads grants, while the Council has allocated £750,000 for its own Drainage/Flood Risk improvement programme.
A total allocation for Transportation Infrastructure is £16.1m. This includes an allocation of £8.127m to the A4119 Coed-Ely dualling scheme, which will complement substantial funding from the UK Government Levelling Up Fund that was previously secured. The scheme is on course for completion in 2023.
Two key schemes, the Llanharan Link Road and A465 Cynon Gateway North, are included in Welsh Government’s Roads Review. An update from the Review in February 2023 was unfavourable towards each scheme – but it remains the case that solutions are needed to tackle traffic and transportation challenges in each area. The Council is working with Welsh Government over this, and allocates £5.058m (Llanharan) and £1.351m (Cynon) respectively to take forward initiatives to resolve these problems.
In addition, £730,000 is allocated to the Park and Ride Programme to create extra parking capacity at railway stations alongside the Metro. Funding of £544,000 for the Making Better Use Programme will target low-cost, high-value improvements to traffic flow, with some of this funding earmarked for the A4059 corridor. Road network challenges facing Rhondda Fawr, particularly at Stag Square, Treorchy, will be further investigated using £363,000 funding.
Councillor Andrew Morgan OBE, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Investment, said: “Each year our Capital Programme identifies and delivers major funding across Highways and Transportation as priority areas, and more than £27.6m is allocated for the next financial year. This is separate to external funding anticipated for key areas like flood alleviation and Active Travel, and the £20.1m Storm Dennis programme being funded by Welsh Government and delivered by the Council. This amounts to huge improvements across our communities in 2023/24.
“I’m pleased we’ve been able to allocate almost £5m across road resurfacing, footway renewals and unadopted roads next year, continuing our accelerated funding approach to road maintenance. This has ensured the condition of our roads has greatly improved over many years. The percentage of all local classified roads requiring maintenance in 2022/23 was 4.1% – compared with 15.7% in 2010/11. This trend continues for ‘A’ roads (16.2% to 3.7%), ‘B’ roads (15.2% to 5.7%) and ‘C’ roads (15.3% to 3.7%) over the past 13 years.
“More than £5m is also allocated across parks and highway structures, with the Council responsible for maintaining more than 1,500 walls, culverts and bridges that support our road networks across Rhondda Cynon Taf. The separate Storm Dennis funding will also progress many large-scale schemes, including White Bridge in Pontypridd and Castle Inn Footbridge in Treforest.
“The A4119 Coed-Ely dualling scheme will continue to be supported with Council funding in 2023/24, as work progresses towards completion next summer – along with the Park and Ride Programme to increase the parking capacity at railway stations while the Metro is being delivered. The Porth Transport Hub is a Metro+ scheme, on course for completion this summer.
“Following the agreement of Cabinet Members on Monday, the new Highways, Transportation and Strategic Projects Capital Programme will be adopted by the Council for delivery throughout the 2023/24 financial year.”