The completion of a £61m scheme to improve a notoriously congested road linking England to north Wales has been warmly welcomed by leading industry body the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
FTA members identified traffic congestion at the A550, A540 and M56 junctions as a barrier to reliable freight journey times back in 2003, as published in FTA's Trade Routes document.
Ian Gallagher, FTA's Regional Policy Manager for Wales, said:
“FTA members operating in north Wales flagged up this particular 'pinch point' as a problem and we are delighted for them that connectivity to Wales has now been significantly improved with the A5117 link.
“Congestion along this stretch of road was certainly a cause for concern among hauliers as the resulting traffic jams represented a great deal of wasted fuel and were a barrier to reliable journey times.”
As well as fuel cost savings, commercial vehicle operators and their end-users will also benefit from shorter and more reliable delivery times.
“The knock-on benefits of free moving traffic includes improved safety and a much lower level of emission.”
However, there is still some concern from industry that despite the investment in this stretch of the road network there is still little provision for parking. This concern is addressed in the Welsh Assembly document, One Wales Connecting The Nation: The Wales Freight Strategy, which was developed in partnership with the Wales freight group and was instigated by the FTA.
“We would like to see much greater importance placed on truck stops along this key trade route – the decision to refuse safe and secure areas for HGVs to park is myopic as without safe and secure truck stops not only are drivers put at risk from theft and hijack, they are also denied the opportunity to get a decent rest period which carries road safety implications.”