**Updated – 8th September 2016**
Major works to Fiddlers Elbow (Abercynon) are continuing – where work to replace the movement joints on one of the regions busiest bridges.
The works, which form part of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s £23m Highways, Transportation, Infrastructure and Strategic Projects (HTISP) Investment Programme started on Monday 8th August and are due to last for approximately 3 months.
The Westbound carriageway (Heading away from Ystrad Mynach towards the A470) is closed in its entirety
Various works, including Bridge Street roundabout, Pontypridd and Travellers Rest, Abercynon were completed ahead of these major works to help ease the disruption to motorists, using the diversion route.
The £2m Fiddlers Elbow scheme will see movement joints replaced together with re-waterproofing and resurfacing of the decks on this vital viaduct. Once the repairs are completed the structural plates (humps) that are currently bridging the joints and the temporary 20 mph speed limit can be lifted.
Fiddlers Elbow bridge links the adjacent County Boroughs of Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly to the A470 trunk road and Rhondda Cynon Taf and works are likely to cause disruption to road users.
Ownership of the bridge is shared jointly between Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf Councils and funding of the project will be shared equally between the Authorities.
The funding for RCT Council’s part of the Fiddlers Elbow scheme has been allocated from the £23m investment scheme which is set to continue over the next three years and is part of the wider £200m RCTinvest programme. This multi-million-pound project will see the Council invest significantly in key priority areas, including; Leisure and Outdoor Leisure Facilities, Play Areas, Highways and Structures, Transport Infrastructure, Flood Alleviation, Schools, Recycling Facilities, Housing and Town and Village Centres.
Over £53m has already been invested in improving and repairing the County Borough’s Highways and Transportation Infrastructure and on Strategic Projects since 2011.
The HTISP Investment scheme will see a number of streets, roads, towns and villages right across the County Borough benefit as work is now ploughing ahead to tackle key areas.
Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council, Councillor Andrew Morgan, who is also Cabinet Member for Highways, said:
“The Council and its Cabinet has recognised the concerns expressed by the public and the importance of investing in our key priorities, that is why we have allocated £200m over the next three years to improve areas such as Leisure and Outdoor Leisure Facilities, Play Areas, Highways and Structures, Transport Infrastructure, Flood Alleviation, Schools, Recycling Facilities, Housing and Town and Village Centres.
“Myself and my Cabinet wholeheartedly agree that improvements to our highways and structures continue to be a key priority when it comes to allocating our financial resources.
“We will be investing over £23m in Highways Improvements, Infrastructure, and Strategic Projects over the next three years – this is on top of the £53m we have already invested since 2011 meaning that by 2018/19 we will have invested over £76m in these key areas in recent years.
“The Council is carrying out various works, including those at Bridge Street roundabout, Pontypridd and at Travellers Rest, Abercynon, which will not only help ease disruption on the Fiddlers Elbow diversion route, but in the longer term, will help ease congestion on one of Pontypridd’s busiest roundabouts by increasing traffic flow capacity for motorists in the area.
“Whilst this work demonstrates the Council’s commitment to maintain and improve the road infrastructure for the benefit of residents, businesses and visitors alike, the targeted works at Fiddlers Elbow are likely to cause major disruptions to motorists and I would reassure our residents and our neighbouring authorities that every measure has been taken to minimise this where possible. I would like to urge residents to continue to support us whilst these essential works are carried out as it is for their longer term benefit.”
Works to Fiddlers Elbow viaduct, that are expected to last until Winter 2016, have now become urgent due to 30 years of wear and tear and cannot be deferred any longer despite the likely disruption that partially closing the bridge will cause motorists.
Following extensive consultation with the Welsh Government and Caerphilly Council it was decided to prioritise traffic leaving the A470 maintaining 2-lanes of traffic eastbound, away from the A470 and towards Nelson, at all times.
West bound traffic, travelling north along the A470 will be diverted north along the A4054, joining the A470 at the Pentrebach Roundabout.
Traffic approaching the A470 from Nelson and wishing to travel south will be diverted south along the A4054 – Temporary traffic lights and physical alterations to the junction with the slip road south of Tŷ Trevithick are being undertaken in line with the Bridge Street roundabout works to enable lighter vehicles (below 7.5 Tonnes) to turn right and join the A470 at the earliest opportunity. Larger vehicles that will not be capable of completing the tight right turn will be directed to Navigation Park where they will go around the roundabout back to the approach the A470 junction south of Ty Trevithick at a more appropriate angle.
West bound traffic travelling west towards the A4059 and the Cynon Valley will be directed south (as above) and will need to go around the Bridge Street roundabout at Pontypridd before heading north on the A470 to join the A4059 at Abercynon roundabout.
Advanced signage advising drivers to use alternative routes will be in place on all approaches (e.g. A472 Ystrad Mynach) to allow drivers to avoid the area completely during these critical works.