A465 Dowlais to Hirwaun update – legacy project ideas
Thanks to the constituents and local businesses who make contact about the improvements to the Heads of the Valleys road and the final stage between Dowlais and Hirwaun. Vikki Howells MS and I wrote a joint letter to Economy Minister Ken Skates and I share his response here.
As you can read the Minister states the “construction is due to start at the end of 2020 and will take between 4 and 4.5 years to complete”. It is not affected by the ongoing issues on the Gilwern to Brynmawr section.
The Minister issued a written statement on 13th February which included:
“I wish to reassure Members that measures are in hand to safeguard timely delivery of the final two sections of the A465 Heads of the Valleys Dualling project between Dowlais and Hirwaun (Sections 5 & 6), which is being progressed as a single project using Welsh Government’s Mutual Investment Model (MIM). The process of procuring a private sector partner for the project is ongoing and is expected to be complete by the summer of 2020.
The MIM contract is a bespoke contract that is fundamentally different to that currently being used on Section 2. However, the Section 2 environmental best practice and community benefits have been further developed and incorporated into the new contract.
MIM is a fixed price lump sum contract to deliver the required services. Under MIM, Welsh Government will not pay for this service until it is operational, incentivising the contractors to deliver to programme. The risk of cost increase and programme delays sits with the appointed service provider who will be penalised if stringent operational requirements aren’t met.
The contract includes strict restrictions on the management of traffic while the road is being built, on both the A465 and local roads. Bidders’ tenders will be evaluated on how well they meet these contractual commitments and will incur penalties if they do not.
Members will wish to be aware that my officials are working proactively, in partnership with elected members of local authorities and a range of public interest groups, to pull together a package of potential legacy projects for the local communities along the route. I would urge anyone who has ideas for suitable projects to engage with this work, via the relevant local authority“.
The project team will work with partners to identify a meaningful, deliverable package of measures, in line with the project objectives. The aim is for these to be delivered outside the main construction contract, either in parallel with remaining construction on the A465, or once construction is finished.