Welsh roads stem tourism growth

By | Category: Travel rumblings

frustratedYou can have the best attractions, the most appealing scenic views and exceptional customer service but if you can’t get the visitor easily around you will never expand.

I refer to Wales – or at least most of Wales – because its road infrastructure lags behind in being fit for purpose. In the last month I have driven well over 600 miles on Welsh roads away from the M4 corridor in the south and the A55 dual carriageway that follows the North Wales coastline.

In virtually anywhere else there is little dual carriageway, some of the A roads are not of A standard and there are few overtaking lanes. The glib answer as to why it is out-dated is because few people live in mid-Wales and therefore politicians take notice.

But they should because visitors would be able to see more if they could travel further in a day. Take the A483 for example, almost the spine of Wales. It links Pont Abraham from the end of the M4 to Llandovery, Llandrindod Wells, Newtown and up via Oswestry and Wrexham to Chester. Apart from a stretch north of Oswestry to Chester, there is no dual carriageway yet thus is one of the popular routes into Wales. There is no crawler lane for slow vehicles up any of the endless yet pretty hills. If you get stuck behind a caravan, a camper van or a tractor you are suck. As I have been. In two hours I had driven just 61 miles.

Stretching from Fishguard, through Cardigan and on to Aberystwyth, Machynlleth, Dolgellau and into Snowdonia and on to the Menai Bridge where it meets the A55 is the A487. It follows the coastline for the first 60 miles going up and down mountains through seaside towns with colourful houses but is there an overtaking lane anywhere? Guess the answer? It is only in Snowdonia where there is the odd overtaking lane.

Because it takes so long to travel smallish distances how many visitors reduce what they would like to see? Judging from a totally a-scientific study I carried out many do. Yet the road us wide enough in places for a overtaking lane to be set up. And, in many cases, there is an opportunity for roads to be widened.

I am not asking for the whole road system to be made into dual carriageways appealing as though that might be any time I get caught behind yet another camper van chugging at 35-40mph. Just a little forethought that in this age when car drivers are treated as almost pariahs that they are tourists, visitors and economic benefactors as well.

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