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The Welsh Government Begins Enquiry into £1bn M4 Tunnel Route

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The Welsh Government has backed a 6-lane motorway to be positioned south of Newport, with the bypass expected to cost £1bn.

A public enquiry is to be held regarding the new route, which includes an underground tunnel. Wanting to relieve congestion on the M4 between Magor and Castleton, Inspector Bill Wadrup said 22 alternatives to the route would be assessed on day one, believing Welsh Government will explore close to 100 options before signing off on a route.

Wanting to create something similar to the Channel Tunnel, Wadrup explains the route proposal, saying that the tunnel will be 15 miles long and aim to reduce the current accident rate.

brynWelsh Government-appointed barrister Morag Ellis QC said, in her opening statement, that the new route was “essential to the wellbeing of the people of Wales”, with the current state of the motorway “not fit for purpose”.

She said congestion happened with “monotonous regularity” with “frequent and unpredictable incidents” meaning the current route was “neither a reliable or resilient network” and that “problems will get worse”.

Promising the economical benefits to outweigh the cost, it is believed that this motorway transformation will encourage a larger number of tourists visiting Wales, boosting Welsh economy and providing better access to holiday resorts.

However, not everyone is so optimistic about this new stretch of M4. So far there have been 335 formal objections, compared to 192 letters of support. These have come from bodies including the RSPB, Natural Resources Wales and the owners of Newport docks. Taking such viewpoints into consideration, it has been reported that Welsh Government will alter the proposed route to limit the impact on areas of special scientific interest, expected to take 5 months to carry out a full enquiry.

Planning to begin construction in 2018, Welsh Government are certainly making headway with this project.