Synod Inn road upgrade to start

Work to upgrade three kilometres of the A486 between Synod Inn and Llandysul in Ceredigion is due to start at the beginning of September.

The road, which, for many in Ceredigion, is the main link to Carmarthen and beyond, will be straightened along what is currently a winding, narrow stretch and widened to 7.3m from the current 5 to 6.5m.

Many environmentalists are instinctively opposed to road improvements of this kind, arguing that they inevitably increase traffic. However it’s not all bad from their point of view. I’ve always thought the worst thing about this route is the complete lack of pavement for long stretches on such a narrow A-road. The upgraded road will include a continuous two metre pavement on one side.

It is sometimes said that there’s little need for a pavement in such a sparsely populated area, but that’s no consolation to those who do walk and cycle these routes, who are extremely vulnerable to passing traffic. 

My personal preference on these kinds of rural main roads in future is for a shared use cycle/footway along one side. An official shared use path has to be 3m wide, which this intended pavement isn’t. The route was designed years ago and it’s now too late to re-negotiate with neighbouring landowners. However Highways Officers argue that widening the road by up to 2.3m does allow cars to give cyclists a wide berth. I’m not sure about that but at least there should be little problem with cyclists using a pavement with relatively few pedestrians.

The work due to start soon is to the 1.5km section of road between Post Bach and the house known as Llain. The next section, from Llain the rest of the way up to Synod Inn, is still awaiting funding but this is only a matter of time.

Work is also taking place on putting together an application for a ‘transport hub’ at Synod Inn for connecting bus services. A planning application for this is expected by the end of the year.


Cardigan Bay councils plan for rising sea levels

A consortium of local authorities are proposing that the sea be allowed to break through at Tanybwlch beach just South of Aberystwyth and allowed to flood into the Ystwyth valley.

The Cardigan Bay Coastal Group’s Shoreline Management Plan accepts that maintaining a sea defence at Tanybwlch (above) is unsustainable in the long-term due to rising sea levels. It proposes allowing the sea to eventually flood into the Ystwyth Valley, joining with the river Ystwyth in the direction of Rhydyfelin where flood defence work may eventually need to take place.

The plan would take the mouth of the Ystwyth back to its original state of a broad tidal estuary. In the 18th century the river was diverted into the mouth of Aberystwyth harbour by the placing of large boulders across the estuary and digging a trench through a rocky bar along the foot of Pen Dinas. It is not thought that letting nature take its course will have a significantly detrimental effect on the harbour which is only dependent on the river Rheidol.

For the rest of Aberystwyth, the plan proposes a ‘hold the line’ approach to the sea, envisaging shoring up existing defences, especially in the Trefechan area. The report raises the long-term possibility of ‘re-charging’ Aberystwyth beaches and even land reclamation in order to control the shoreline.

Further north, the plan envisages the village of Clarach slowly retreating inland, the loss of Borth golf course to the sea in the long-term and even discusses the eventual need to re-locate the railway line.

It is sobering to see the authorities now coming to terms with the inevitability of rising sea levels and making plans accordingly.

The West of Wales Shoreline Management Plan is a huge document put together by the five county councils along the coast together with the Welsh Government and other involved organisations.

Image source: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/846582