New £1bn motorway for south Wales

Updated: 

Cars travel along the M4 motorway near Langley, Berkshire....

The construction of a new relief road for the M4 in Wales has been announced by the country's transport minister Edwina Hart.

The £1bn project, designed to ease congestion on the heavily used commuter route, is the biggest capital investment programme ever announced by the Welsh government.

Due to be completed by the spring of 2022, the new road will run between junctions 23 and 29 of the existing M4, and will include a new bridge section.

As ever with such large construction projects, the announcement has proved divisive. Supporters say it will boost jobs the economic prosperity of the area, but opponents have dubbed it a "billion pound mistake", claiming that the chosen route was too damaging and expensive, according to the BBC.

Gareth Clubb, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, said: "This vastly expensive, utterly unnecessary and terribly damaging motorway is the worst possible transport choice for south east Wales.

"And the £1bn price tag means that, at a time when traffic has actually decreased since 2007, it's going to come at the cost of the sustainable solutions that could benefit us all.

"This Welsh government seems stuck in a past age of concreting over our beautiful countryside and committing our economy to a fossil fuel future we won't be able to afford."

However, businesses in the area have largely reacted positively. CBI Wales director Emma Watkins, told the BBC: "The M4 around Newport is simply not fit for the 21st Century. That stretch of motorway is Wales' main economic artery, it is already congested and is predicted to get worse," she said.

"I agree with the prime minister when he said it was a 'foot on the windpipe of the Welsh economy'."

Do you travel on the affected route? Do you think the plan will benefit travel in the area? Have your say in the comments section below.