The Council has confirmed that the third phase of ongoing works to future-proof the Maerdy Mountain route will continue this summer, requiring a road closure of the A4233 between Aberdare and Maerdy.
Please find answers to a series of Frequently Asked Questions below, which give more information about what the work entails, the need for the road closure, and why it is being carried out this summer.
Where and when is the work/road closure taking place?
The A4233 Maerdy Mountain Road will close between Graig Place in Aberdare and Station Road in Maerdy from Monday, July 4, to Monday, September 5. The work location is at the hillside near the hairpins on the Aberdare side of the route. An alternative route for motorists is via the A4233, A4058 to Pontypridd, A470 and A4059 to Aberdare – or this route in reverse order. These will be clearly signposted.
What work is being carried out this summer?
This is part of the ongoing effort to mitigate structural issues on the mountainside, exacerbated by unprecedented weather in Storm Dennis, and other subsequent weather events which happen each winter. This summer’s work programme will rectify significant scour damage to the hillside at the hairpins on the Aberdare side of the route. It will include anchoring the slope below the highway as well as installing a surface retaining structure. The vehicle barrier at the side of the road will need to be removed for this work, with specialist systems to access the slope being utilised.
Why does the road need to close?
The characteristics of the road and topography of the mountain route present difficulty in minimising disruption. Another key consideration is the safety of both the workforce and motorists. Unfortunately, the road is too narrow to safely maintain live moving traffic while the work is ongoing. With the vehicle barrier also being removed to enable the work, it would be unsafe for vehicles to travel on this section of the route. Work is being carried out this summer when the road is likely to be less busy during peak travel periods, while disruption to home to school transport is avoided.
Why can’t the work take place at night?
The work cannot be carried out overnight due to very difficult access conditions at the exposed and elevated site location. Other key considerations include the safety of the workforce, and that the specialist nature of the scheme which would make it very difficult to make sufficient progress if the work took place at night.
Are local bus services affected by the closure?
The Stagecoach 172 service (Aberdare-Porthcawl) will still operate, running non-stop between Aberdare and Tonypandy bus stations via Pontypridd. Departures from both bus stations will be earlier, and journey times will be increased. Ticketing arrangements are in place to ensure customers continue to pay normal fares.
A FREE shuttle bus service operated by NAT Group will run from Monday to Sunday between Maerdy and Tonypandy to enable ongoing connections to Porthcawl, Bridgend, Tonyrefail and to Aberdare. It will travel via Ferndale, Tylorstown, Penrhys, Ystrad and Llwynypia in both directions.
Please find the timetable for this service on the following link.
Both the amended 172 service and the shuttle bus will meet at Tonypandy Bus station, ensuring all connections are made for onward travel.
Why are works carried out more frequently on this road than others?
Our steep mountain roads are in a constant battle for survival against the elements, and Storm Dennis provided a stark reminder of the difficulties roads such as the A4233 on Maerdy Mountainmust endure. If it wasn’t for the Council’s significant maintenance of the route in recent years, the nature of the damage sustained in Storm Dennis would have closed the road indefinitely. To avoid an incident in the future that could cause a long-term closure, phases of work to stabilise the hillside and protect the road will need to happen over several years. While repair or maintenance works are disruptive for a period of time, they are also the difference between the road being available and open into the future or not.
The Council would like to reiterate its thanks to residents for their continued patience and cooperation during the upcoming works at the Maerdy Mountain Route.