When the schools go back on Monday it will be clear to see from the increase in the number of cars on the road. Traffic around town, and especially onto the M4 at Hendy, has been a lot less congested during half-term, but it will be business as usual as the holidays end.
Tailbacks are common as people from Hendy & Pontarddulais queue from one direction, and people from Llanelli queue from the other, to get on the M4 in the morning. This is bound to get worse with the plan for 750 new homes in Pontarddulais and 91 new homes in Hendy.
With so many people from this area commuting to work in Swansea and Cardiff it is crucial that the bottleneck is eased.
I’ve been discussing what can be done to help with Rebecca Evans, the Welsh Government Deputy Minister who is standing for Labour in Gower in next month’s Assembly elections. With Pontarddulais in the Gower constituency, and Hendy in the Llanelli constituency, it is vital that we work together.
We have agreed to team up, if we are both elected, to push the new Welsh Government that will be elected in May to fund a feasibility study for a Park & Ride station in the area to ease pressure on the motorway junction.
Building a new Motorway junction would cost Millions and would do nothing to address congestion further down the motorway that would come from the extra traffic generated by all these new houses. We’d like to see a serious effort made to cut traffic by making it easier for people to share cars, or ease their journeys by using park and ride.
People used to operate an informal ‘park and share’ at Hendy by leaving their cars underneath the motorway bridge, and we know from parking problems in residential streets that some people still do - so there is demand already. What we’d like to see is a proper site where people can leave their cars and lift share, or catch a regular bus into Cardiff or Swansea.
A feasibility study will need to look at the most suitable site, which destinations there would be demand to run an express bus service to, and the viability of keeping such a scheme going. It will certainly be enormously cheaper than remodelling the junction or building a bigger road.
If Rebecca Evans and I are in the Assembly together after May’s election we’ll be teaming up to make sure this problem is dealt with. We want to make sure that the situation is improved for commuters and villagers.
Lee Waters is Welsh Labour’s Assembly candidate for Llanelli
This column was published in the Llanelli Herald on 8 April 2016