The Welsh Government has been accused of ditching plans to improve road safety on the A494 between Dolgellau and Glan-yr-Afon, despite six serious accidents in the space of two months.
Dwyfor Meirionnydd MS, Mabon ap Gwynfor said he was assured that work to improve safety on the A494 would begin in 2023 but has now been informed that due to ‘limited resources’ and ‘conflicting priorities’, work is unlikely to be carried out until at least 2025/26.
Data from North Wales Police reveal from the 1 January 2022 to 31 July 2023, there have been a total of two fatalities, and nine serious and three slight collisions. There have been a further 19 damage only collisions and 34 non-reportable collisions reported to the police in this period. From the serious collisions, seven were motorcyclist, two pedestrian and two vehicle collisions.
There were six very serious accidents in the last two months alone, including the two fatalities. All six accidents have resulted in the emergency transfer of the severely injured to Wrexham A&E and the Royal Stoke Hospital.
Mr ap Gwynfor has called on the Deputy Minister for Climate Change to bring forward safety measures as a matter of urgency, warning that without immediate action, further accidents on this busy road are inevitable. He said: “The A494 between Dolgellau and Glan-yr-Afon has seen several serious and fatal accidents in recent months yet work already promised to improve safety on this notorious road has been put on indefinite hold, despite repeated assurances from ministers.
“The decision to delay these safety improvements is a kick in the teeth to local people who are justifiably frustrated at the lack of progress in tackling this pressing issue. My constituents want to see these measures delivered, not mealy-mouthed excuses.
“People living in communities along the A494 such as Llanuwchllyn, Rhydymain, Llanfor, and Glan-yr-Afon have sadly grown accustomed to road closures for hours on end and the sight of emergency vehicles descending on yet another serious accident.
“It should also be appreciated that this stretch of road is very popular with both motorcyclists and visitors who may not be as well used to the road’s windy and narrow bends as local road users are. This is reflected in the number of motorcyclist injured/killed.
“It goes without saying that the ultimate burden of responsibility for responsible driving lies with the individual but given the number of serious accidents on this busy road, additional safety measures are required to mitigate the likelihood of future collisions.
“I call on the minister to look again at the pressing need to improve safety on the A494 and bring forward the work programme at the earliest opportunity so that my constituents can be assured that measures are afoot to address this worsening problem.”
Gwynedd councillor Delyth Lloyd Griffiths added: “I echo the concerns voiced by Mabon ap Gwynfor about the urgent need to implement safety measures along the A494.
“All efforts must be made to lessen the likelihood of serious accidents happening in the future.
“The Welsh Government must address this pressing issue with the seriousness it deserves. The statistics speak for themselves. Measures must be brought in to improve safety on the A494, both for road users and local residents.”
Cllr Alan Evans (Llanuwchllyn and Llanycil) added: “Since the recent fatal accidents between Llanuwchllyn and Rhydymain, a number of residents have expressed their real concern about the continued speeding on the A494.
“Local residents live in fear when joining the A494 from their driveways and travelling along the road especially at weekends when this part of the A494 resembles the Isle of Man.
“Three times in the last 18 months the road has had to close due to a fatal accident, and this is completely unacceptable.
“There must be swift action to reduce the speed. It is only a matter of time until the emergency services have to deal with a body on their hands again.
“I offer my support with the campaign for action to help improve safety on the A494.”
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Our thoughts are with those families and friends who have been affected by the fatal collision.
“We’re awaiting the police report regarding the most recent fatal collision at Rhydymain. Once received, we will carry out any improvements identified at the earliest opportunity.”