The two companies responsible for the maintenance of gas pipes and electricity lines have both apologised for the traffic chaos in and around Caerphilly town this morning.
Wales and West Utilities is currently working on replacing gas pipes along St Cenydd Road in Trecenydd and this has been partly blamed as the cause of the heavy traffic. Also to blame was tree-cutting work on the Penrhos roundabout by Western Power Distribution, the firm which looks after the power cables.
Caerphilly Observer received several reports from readers of usually short journeys, for example between Llanbradach and Abertridwr, taking up to an hour-and-a-half with motorists taking to social media to vent their frustrations.
As well as traffic along the main routes of the A468 and A469, there were jams along Caerphilly town’s Pontygwindy Road, St Cenydd Road, Abertridwr, Energlyn, Penyrheol.
Traffic was also backed up from the Pwllypant roundabout up the A469 towards Llanbradach and Stagecoach reported several delays to its services.
The chaos was compounded by this morning being the first Monday where all schools are back from the holidays.
Adam Smith, Wales and West Utilities’ programme controller for Caerphilly, said: “In agreement with Caerphilly County Borough Council and to keep the local community, road users and our colleagues safe while we work, four-way traffic lights are currently in place along St Cenydd Road, at its junction with Nantgarw Road and Lon-Y-Llyn.
“We are sorry for the disruption that these lights have caused. We have reviewed our traffic management based on feedback from commuters and the local community, and these lights will now be manned during peak times. We would also advise motorists to take alternative routes where possible.
“Our team will be working as safely and as quickly as possible and we really appreciate the patience of local people while we carry out this essential work.
“We know working on roads like these is not ideal, but this work really is essential to keep the gas flowing to heat homes and power businesses in the area, and to make sure the gas network is fit for the future and can play its part in delivering reliable and affordable green energy.
“Our Customer Service Team is ready to take your call if you have any questions about our work. You can contact them on freephone 0800 912 2999 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can contact us on Twitter @WWUtilities or Facebook.com/WWUtilities.”
Western Power Distribution also issued an apology for the disruption it caused through tree cutting work on the Penrhos roundabout.
In a statement, the company said: “The work is being completed quicker that envisaged and the traffic management system will be removed by 3.30pm today. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
The heavy traffic however has also prompted questions about how the town’s roads will cope with a string of new housing developments planned.
The Hendredenny estate, for example, is set to be expanded by Redrow with an extra by 260 houses.
Councillor Lindsay Whittle, who represents the Penyrheol ward for Plaid Cymru, has previously warned of the impact traffic generated by the development, and others, could cause.
He said: “Forty homes in Ty Isaf, more at the Windsor Colliery site in Abertridwr – they’ve all got planning permission. We’ve also got Persimmon pushing us for Gwern y Domen. If these are built, the traffic will get worse.”