A £111 million scheme to relieve congestion in Port Talbot continues to make great progress.
The Harbour Way project comprises the construction of 4.5km of dual carriageway, providing links between M4 Junctions 38 and 42. The route is being seen as an important stage in the regeneration of Port Talbot and once complete it will reduce congestion and delays on the M4, TEN-T, and improve access, image and investment to serve areas of west Wales.
The project is the largest transport project to be supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) convergence programme and to date is the largest project for Wales since the construction of the M4.
Construction work began on the project in late 2010, following an ECI phase which took place between April 2009 and November 2010. Costain is the main contractor on the project, whilst Arup and Port Talbot County Borough Council are involved with the highway design.
The majority of the work on the project is taking place on a piece of land formerly owned by Tata Steel and involves the careful relocation of existing wildlife and vegetation. Meanwhile, a key stage of the scheme is the construction of the western side of the dual carriageway and the subsequent demolition of an existing bridge over the main south Wales railwayline.
Commenting on the scheme, Project Manager, Rhys Griffith, said:
“One of the biggest challenges that we are encountering is the fact that we are working within the existing footprint of the former steel works which was housed on this site. During the works we have had to undertake a considerable amount of land remediation and solidification works – to deal with materials which were heavily contaminated by industrial usage – and we have also had to divert a number of services including water and gas which were part of the existing site.
“In addition we have also constructed a 150 meter structure to span over four lines of an active railway line, which has involved moving signals and has presented its own unique challenges.”
“Throughout the project the scheme makes use of a great deal of recycled aggregate, which minimises the use of primary aggregate and therefore reduces the amount of material that is sent to landfill. We are also using foam mix for the road base along with traditional macadams, and once complete the scheme will include the installation of associated road signage and lighting.
“Currently we are two-thirds of the way through the construction phase on this project and work continues to make good progress.”
Due to the extent of the scheme another key aspect of the project has been prioritising safety on the site. To date, more than a million man hours have been clocked up on the project without a single recordable incident, which is something that Project Manager Rhys is very proud of.
“The site involves a lot of risk management and is a critical project for Port Talbot. Once work is complete on the project, access for Port Talbot will be significantly improved and this scheme will encourage and aid regeneration within the local area. It will reduce congestion on the M4 and will aid the maintenance on existing routes.”
The Harbour Way project is currently on track and is scheduled to reach completion in autumn 2013. For more information on the scheme please visit: www.harbourwayproject.com.