The Auditor General for Wales published an interim Report on A465 Section 2 Road Improvement in February 2020.
The A465 Section 2 is an 8km stretch of road between Gilwern and Brynmawr. It involves building on a steep-sided valley – the Clydach Gorge – and passes through the Brecon Beacons National Park. The work to improve the road is part of a larger scheme to improve 40km of the A465 between Hirwaun and Abergavenny which is expected to cost around £1 billion overall. The scheme is intended to have a considerable impact on investment and economic activity along the Heads of the Valleys corridor.
The final cost and timescale for Section 2 remain uncertain. The work was due to finish in September 2018, but full completion is now expected to run into 2021. Welsh Government estimates from November 2019 suggest a total bill of around £321.1 million to the public purse.
The £321.1 million figure is less than the £336.2 million estimated in April 2019, but at the start of the detailed design and construction contract in December 2014 the Welsh Government estimated a cost of £223.2 million. Some of the increase relates to design changes requested by the Welsh Government and additional measures to address environmental impacts, but the engineering and contractual challenges experienced on the project account for most of it.
The Public Accounts Committee will scrutinise the Welsh Government on this issue in summer 2020.
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First published: 25/02/2020