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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 07:07 GMT
Motorway expansion plans on hold
Motorway
Congestion on the M4 looks set to continue
Controversial plans to build a new six-lane motorway in south Wales are expected to be put on hold.

The Welsh Assembly Government is due to announce its major road building programme for the next decade on Thursday.

Transport Minister Sue Essex
Sue Essex is due to address the Assembly

It is believed that Assembly Transport Minister Sue Essex will reveal that a decision on the project has been deferred.

The decision will in effect shelve the project for at least 10 years.

The idea of having a relief road for the congested M4 as it passes Newport is popular with civic and business leaders in south east Wales.

But the road has faced opposition from environmentalists and criticism over its cost.

Environmental objections have centred on the damage it could do to the Gwent levels, which is an important wetland wildlife habitat.

And the project would also be relatively expensive, costing an estimated 300m to 400m.

Dual carriageway

Elsewhere, Sue Essex is expected to approve plans to build a dual carriageway on the A40 between St Clears and Haverfordwest.

Work on the 60m project could start within five years.

In February, the UK Government announced that it is spending 22m on roads around Deeside in north Wales to cut congestion, delays and accidents.

The money will be spent on improving links between Deeside Industrial Park and the M56 over the border in England.

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 ON THIS STORY
BBC Wales's Roger Pinney
"Environmentalists say the 300m to 400m it would cost could be better spent."
See also:

27 Feb 02 | Wales
Major roads boost for Deeside
30 Jan 02 | England
1.68bn road plan unveiled
31 Jul 98 | UK Politics
Road scheme details in full
03 Aug 00 | UK
M-way congestion targeted
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