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Town road plans 'a step closer'

5 December 08 07:16 GMT

An end to major traffic problems in Powys' busiest town is a step closer with news that road improvements could start in 2011.

A new road and rail programme, announced by Transport Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones, includes plans for Newtown.

Consultants are still working on solutions to the town's congestion problems, but there have been calls for a bypass for about 30 years.

Montgomeryshire AM Mick Bates said a bypass was the only "logical route".

Consultants Parsons Brinckerhoff were appointed earlier this year to help solve Newtown's traffic issues, and they are expected to report their findings early next year.

The road network is seen as crucial to a number of projects in and around the town over the next few years.

'High-ranking'

There are plans for a new Tesco store, but more significantly a number of windfarms are in the pipeline and road improvements are needed to ensure the new generation of larger, more powerful, turbines can reach the uplands of mid Wales.

AM Mr Bates said a bypass was the "only acceptable solution".

"A bypass is the only logical route. Other routes and suggestions, which would constitute road improvements, would be too expensive in my opinion," added Mr Bates.

The AM said work was planned to start on Newtown's road improvements between April 2011 and April 2014.

"I will continue to campaign and pressure the Labour-Plaid government, to ensure that this project is not delayed any further and at long last the Newtown bypass is built," he said.

Mayor Sue Lawson said a bypass was desperately needed.

"There has been talk about this for many years, but nothing has happened," she added.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said the existing trunk road programme had been "re-focused to reflect the goals of the One Wales programme of government to connect all parts of the nation".

He added: "My aim is to provide better links between strategic centres of population, improving the distribution of economic development opportunities."

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