Progress update on ongoing £200m infrastructure projects

Written by on 23rd June 2020

Cabinet will receive a progress update on the Council’s ongoing priority developments – including Llys Cadwyn, Coedely Business Unit, Pontypridd YMCA, Mountain Ash Cross Valley Link and school improvements in Tonyrefail, Hirwaun and Church Village.

An Officer report to Cabinet on Thursday, June 25, summarises the latest position on infrastructure and regeneration projects across Rhondda Cynon Taf – including recent progress and challenges faced through the Coronavirus national emergency. The schemes represent a collective £200m investment and have helped to support 200 jobs on site during the lockdown period. Thursday’s meeting will be held via video conferencing.

The report states that all ongoing work has been undertaken safely in response to Coronavirus, in accordance with social distancing and updated guidance for the construction industry. The Council has worked closely with contractors and landlords over adapted working methods, to ensure progress is made as far as possible. Here is an update from a number of projects:

· Llys Cadwyn, Pontypridd – Regular contact has been maintained with contractor Willmott Dixon, which has implemented appropriate site operating procedures and operated a reduced workforce from March. This returned to the full capacity of 85 workers in mid-May. The revised programme has an anticipated completion date of mid-October 2020.

Llys Cadwyn Park Bridge, Pontypridd – Contractor Knights Brown resumed work on site during mid-May after a pause since the end of March, brought about by supply chain problems as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Currently, six workers are on site at any time to ensure social distancing, and the project is now entering its final weeks.

· Coedely Modern Unit – The site faced a period of closure from March as full risk assessments were carried out. Since returning on April 20, John Weaver Contractors has made steady progress with fewer workers now on site. Roof cladding works are complete while ongoing activity includes solar PV work, external drainage and brickwork.

· Pontypridd YMCA – Construction phase started in February and has primarily focused on demolition work. Significant progress has been

made with 15 workers on site, adopting working methods that comply with latest guidance. The Council’s Highways department is working closely with the project around traffic management arrangements.

· Mountain Ash Cross Valley Link – The site has remained operating throughout, with social distancing practices and reduced staff numbers. Delivery of concrete units and attenuation tanks have been delayed as subcontractors and manufacturers were closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Work is now on course to be completed in late summer 2020.

· St Albans Bridge Replacement, Blaenrhondda – Construction of a replacement bridge resumed after a three-week closure at the start of the lockdown period. There have been some issues with the supply chain, but work is on course for completion in late autumn 2020.

· Tonyrefail Community School improvements – Contractor Morgan Sindall mitigated a number of perceived risks at the start of the pandemic, with social distancing now in place and 23 workers on site. There have been supply chain challenges, but materials continue to be sourced locally and from national companies based in South Wales.

· Hirwaun Primary School improvements – Similar to their site in Tonyrefail, Morgan Sindall responded quickly to a number of identified risks at their works site in Hirwaun, and have contended with supply chain issues. Staff numbers reduced to fewer than 10 during March – but this has since increased to 26 and the project remains on schedule.

· Garth Olwg Campus improvements, Church Village – Contractor Vinci UK Ltd has taken advantage of the school’s closure to start major roof works early, mobilising the local supply chain. New site procedures are adhering to social distancing, and the project is ahead of schedule.

The report notes several schemes have been completed recently, including Maesyffynon Extra Care and school improvements in Treorchy and Ferndale. It also notes that changing room refurbishments at Sobell Leisure Centre in Aberdare will start later than planned, that work has resumed on Castell Ifor Bridge repairs in Hopkinstown, and that procedures and processes have been developed for the future delivery of significant £3.7m Disabled Facility Grants.

Considerable officer time has also been invested in the continued planning of future infrastructure projects – including the A4119 dualling at Coedely, Cynon Valley Gateway North (Aberdare Bypass extension) and Llanharan Bypass. Initial work to stabilise the Tylorstown landslip was also completed in April, with the next two major phases of the wider remediation due to start shortly.

Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, said: “The report to Cabinet provides a very useful summary of the progress made and the challenges encountered with a number of important infrastructure

projects across the County Borough. All ongoing work has had to adapt to Coronavirus over the past few months, with progress made where possible.

“Coronavirus has clearly had a significant impact on our wider society and the economy – but it has been important for the Council to continue with its investment plans, and take a proactive approach to working alongside contractors through this period. The ongoing projects in Rhondda Cynon Taf represent a collective £200m investment, supporting more than 200 jobs on site during the lockdown period with works adhering to social distancing.

“Cabinet will consider the updates provided in the report during Thursday’s meeting, and Members could request that a further report is presented to Cabinet in the future setting out the actions the Council proposes to take – working alongside public and private sector partners – to mitigate the economic impact of Coronavirus on the local and regional economy.”

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