Written by Gavin on 4th March 2021
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council has provided an update on the progress made over the past 12 months towards delivering the future Llanharan Bypass – and the next major landmark will be a public engagement exercise this summer.
The Llanharan Bypass is a major highway scheme to construct a new road to the south of Llanharan, split into three sections (as outlined on the map). The western section has already been built off the Dragon Studios roundabout as part of the Llanilid development, while the middle section will be constructed by a housing developer before the occupation of its 801st house (of 1,840).
The 1.6km eastern section of the road, along with an active travel route, will be built by the Council – to connect the middle section of the bypass to the A473 at a point east of Llanharan. In 2019, Cabinet agreed a final route for this section, which will meet the A473 east of Llanharan Service Station.
In addition, the Council will re-align Llanharry Road to connect into the new bypass via the roundabout at the top of Enterprise Way – while the current alignment of Llanharry Road will be used as a dedicated active travel route.
The Council is also consulting on a further improvement to the west of the new bypass, between Dragon Studios roundabout and the boundary with Bridgend County Borough. The proposals will see the removal of the bends (known locally as Cow Corner) with a straighter alignment accommodating improved walking and cycling links between Llanharan and Pencoed.
Following initial ground investigations in late 2019, site activity has continued throughout 2020/21. The Council carried out additional investigatory work in spring 2020, adhering to COVID-19 restrictions at the start of the pandemic. This was followed by further ecological surveys undertaken through the year. Preliminary design is nearing completion for the project.
Officers have engaged with significant stakeholders over the past 12 months, including housing developers, Dragon Studios, Cadw (in relation to Llanharan House), Natural Resources Wales, Network Rail (regarding the crossing of the main railway line) and Wales & West Utilities (over a gas main in the vicinity). The design of the bypass has been progressed together with coordinating the scheme’s Active Travel provision in relation to other local walking and cycling initiatives.
The next phases of the scheme include an Environmental Strategy which is on course for completion in spring 2021, and the launch of a Pre-Planning Application Consultation this summer. This will engage members of the public to receive feedback on the scheme – which will help shape the ongoing design process.
Once this is complete, the Council intends to formally submit a planning application for the Planning and Development Committee’s consideration.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for Highways and Transportation, said: “This progress report has brought residents up to date on the Llanharan Bypass scheme, with work going on behind the scenes towards its future delivery. Following completion of the Mountain Ash Cross Valley Link in October 2020, the Council has shown it is committed to delivering major infrastructure projects – as it progresses the Llanharan Bypass alongside the A4119 dualling from Coed Ely to Ynysmaerdy and the Cynon Gateway North.
“The Llanharan Bypass will have a number of advantages – reducing traffic congestion in Llanharan, Dolau and Bryncae, while also reducing journey times for motorists and public transport users. It will be integral to the strategic highway network linking the west of Rhondda Cynon Taf to the M4, Cardiff and Bridgend. It is also at the heart of the Llanilid/M4 Strategic Opportunity Area, identified by Cabinet as a location with potential for economic growth.
“This summer, the Council will undertake a public engagement exercise, which is a second opportunity for residents to have their say following a public consultation in early 2019. On that occasion, more than 500 people filled in a Council survey and 95% of written responses showed support for the scheme. The upcoming Pre-Planning Application Consultation will again allow residents to share their views, which will be used to finalise the Council’s planning application.”