Work is scheduled to be carried out this summer on a £2 million scheme to replace the movement joints on Fiddler’s Elbow Viaduct – one of the region’s busiest road bridges.
Keeping residents and visitors moving safely throughout Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough is vital and Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet has committed over £23m to improve Highways and Infrastructures across Rhondda Cynon Taf over the next three years – bringing the total investment in these key areas to over £76m since 2011.
This investment forms part of the Council’s ongoing wider three year £200m investment programme “RCT Invest” which is benefitting residents and businesses across Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The Fiddler’s Elbow Viaduct carries the A472 over the River Taff linking the A470 Trunk Road at Abercynon Roundabout with the A4054 at Fiddler’s Elbow Roundabout. This is one of the main arterial routes that links the adjacent County Boroughs of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil and Caerphilly.
The Viaduct was constructed in the 1980’s as part of the contract for the ‘dualling’ of the A470 north of Abercynon, and is essentially two separate bridges with each deck carrying a dual carriageway. Ownership of the bridge is shared jointly between Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf Councils and funding of the project will be shared equally between the Authorities.
The wear and tear experienced over the last 30 years means that these works cannot be deferred any longer and it is imperative that these works are undertaken in order to safeguard the bridge from substantial, costly and disruptive works in future. Whilst the technicalities of replacing the joints should not to be underestimated the most challenging aspect of this project is to minimise the inevitable disruption to traffic that will result from the partial closure of the viaduct. With this in mind the project team, which consists of engineers from MTCBC, RCTCBC and Capita, considered a number of options.
Following extensive consultation with Welsh Government and Caerphilly CBC it was determined that the best option would be to prioritise traffic leaving the A470 maintaining 2-lanes of traffic eastbound, away from the A470 and towards Nelson, at all times.
West bound traffic intending to travel north along the A470 will be diverted north along the A4054, joining the A470 at the Pentrebach Roundabout.
West bound traffic intending to travel south on the A470 will be diverted south along the A4054. Temporary traffic lights will be installed and physical alterations to the junction with the slip road south of Tŷ Trevithick will be undertaken to enable lighter vehicles (below 7.5 Tonnes) to turn right and join the A470 at the earliest opportunity. Larger vehicles that will not be capable of completing the tight right turn will be directed to Navigation Park where they will circumnavigate the roundabout back to the approach the A470 junction south of Ty Trevithick at a more appropriate angle.
West bound traffic intending to travel west towards the A4059 and the Cynon Valley will be directed south (as above) and will need to circumnavigate the Bridge Street roundabout at Pontypridd before heading north on the A470 to join the A4059 at Abercynon roundabout.
Advanced signage advising drivers to use alternative routes will be in place on all approaches (e.g. A472 Ystrad Mynach) to allow drivers to avoid the area completely during these critical works.
The actual date of commencement of the works will shortly be agreed with the appointed Contractor, and the implementation of the aforementioned bridge closure and subsequent diversionary routes will be advertised in due course.