Joint venture secures Newport M4 upgrade

March 25 2015  

Joint venture secures Newport M4 upgrade

Design of a scheme to upgrade the M4 around Newport will start straight away following award of a £750M ECI contract to a Costain led joint venture.

But environmental group Friends of the Earth Cymru, which has criticised the project, says there is still no certainty that shovels will enter the soil.

The Welsh Government scheme is for 24km of new motorway to be built between junction 23 of the existing M4 at Magor and junction 29 at Castleton. The proposed new alignment will carry three lanes of traffic in each direction to the south of Newport.

Costain chief executive Andrew Wyllie said: “We are delighted to be developing this critical infrastructure scheme for the Welsh Government.” Costain has a 50% stake in the winning three way joint venture with Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Taylor Woodrow.

A Public Inquiry is expected to take place in late 2016 or early 2017. Upon successful completion of statutory processes construction could start in spring 2018.

But Friends of the Earth Cymru director Gareth Clubb says there is no certainty that the project will get past the Public Inquiry or environmental assessment processes.

“Construction of the new route would be highly damaging to several sites of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation which it passes through,” he said.

He added that the Welsh Government’s projections for traffic growth are “proving to be out of touch with reality”.

“The congestion on the M4 around Newport is a peak hour issue. We therefore want the Government to investigate ways to make sure commuters travel by means other than the car before committing to this expensive new motorway,” he said.

(Photo: Kyle M Westwood, Arup)

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