PLANS to remove two roundabouts to improve traffic flow on the A55 through Conwy have been halted amidst a freeze on new road-building in Wales.

The proposals for £26million alterations to junctions 15 and 16 in Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr, which were due to be carried out spring 2022, are now subject to approval by the Roads Review Panel over the coming months.

Lee Walters, Welsh Government deputy minister for climate change, had said the government is progressing with work for the Junctions 15 and 16, with a public local inquiry scheduled for September 21.

But the statutory process has now been postponed and made subject to the Welsh Government panel, which will approve priority schemes.

“This decision has been made following advice from officials and the complexities that could have arisen as a result,” said Mr Walters.

The U-turn follows a written formal request by Janet Finch-Saunders, MS for Aberconwy, to the deputy minister that the inquiry could waste of taxpayer money, should the Roads Review Panel to reject the plans at a later stage.

Mrs Finch-Saunders said: “Consecutive Welsh Governments have repeatedly dragged their feet on pushing forward these proposed improvement works, which has left the residents and businesses of Dwygyfylchi, Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan in limbo.

“Having called for a postponement of this local public inquiry, until the Welsh Government can clarify its intentions with regards to road policy, I am relieved that the deputy minister has seen sense.

“This announcement is a clear win for taxpayers and provides short-term clarity for the residents of Dwygyfylchi, Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan. 

“That a significant sum of public money could have been spent on further public engagement, only for the Welsh Road’s Review to have come along and scrapped the entire project, underlines the foolish route that this policy was travelling down.”

The £26m sum had been secured from the European Union; public consultations were held in 2018 with the work initially planned to start in 2021 and completed in 2023.

It includes the replacement of the Penmaenmawr roundabout at junction 16 with slip roads on the westbound carriageway, enabling traffic to join and exit the trunk road via a slip road instead of a roundabout. The existing slip road at junction 16a in Dwygyfylchi would also be replaced with a height-separated junction.

This would be aimed at allowing traffic on the A55 to flow more smoothly without having to slow down at the roundabouts.

A decision by the Roads Review Panel is expected to be made within the next three months.

Mr Waters said: “Given the current status of the junction improvement schemes at junctions 14/15 and 16/16A of the A55, I have decided that the public local inquiry into the schemes that was scheduled to commence on September 21, should be postponed until further notice so that the schemes can form part of the Welsh Government Roads Review.

“This decision has been made following advice from officials and the complexities that could have arisen as a result.

“I apologise for any inconvenience caused by the postponement of the public local inquiry and for the delay in providing this notification.

“The ministerial decision in respect of the recommendations of the Welsh Government Roads Review will be published in due course.

“The Roads Review Panel have been requested to provide their view on this project as a priority after the appraisal criteria is agreed around the three-month milestone.”