In news that will delight local environmentalists, the proposed Llanbadarn Fawr Bypass near Aberystwyth has slipped off the National Assembly's radar altogether in their latest National Transport Plan.
The plan, released last week, lists all planned major transport projects in Wales until 2014. The Llanbadarn Bypass has been the most campaigned for road project in the Aberystwyth area over the years and does seem to have the support of the majority of people in Llanbadarn village which has to cope with 19,000 vehicles passing through each day. It was planned to run from near the Parc y Llyn roundabout on the outskirts of the town to the Glanyrafon junction on the A44. However, despite generally prioritising north-south road links, the Assembly's Trunk Road Agency believe that the improvements made to the Llanbadarn junction in 2006, in which two mini-roundabouts were installed along with pedestrian refuguges, should be able to cope with projected traffic growth up to at least 2019.
Despite the weight of support for the project locally, I've always been extremely sceptical that any benefits brought by a bypass could be worth the destruction of so much greenfield space alongside the river Rheidol. Although the traffic congestion through Llanbadarn can seem bad by Aberystwyth standards, it is still relatively mild and short-lived when compared to other traffic hotspots across Wales. Bypasses are also known for ultimately creating more road traffic.
One benefit of the bypass plan has been the safeguarding of the proposed route against other developments. If Ceredigion Council gives up on the project entirely this land may become vulnerable to development, although flood risk may still help to prevent this.
The only mentions of Ceredigion in Wales's National Transport Plan are a very welcome promise to introduce hourly rail services between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury by 2011 and further work on the Ceredigion Link Road between Synod Inn and Carmarthen.
The plan is being consulted on until October 12th. It can be seen at:http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/transport/ntp/?lang=en