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Maerdy Mountain Road summer work to future-proof the route

Mountain Road

Here’s all you need to know about the Maerdy Mountain Road summer work – including details about the road closure, bus arrangements, the need for the work and why it is being carried out now.

RCT Council has previously given advanced notice of the A4233 road closure, between Monk Street in Aberdare and Station Road in Maerdy. It will close from 8am to 6pm from each Monday to Friday  between Monday, July 26, and Wednesday, September 1. An alternative route for motorists will be clearly signposted, and access will be maintained for emergency services.

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. The specific work this summer will address the slumping of the embankment above a section of the road in order to increase resilience. The work is part of a wider effort to future-proof the A4233, following on from the significant drainage work in October 2020 as a result of a further minor landslip during Storm Dennis. This is an ongoing effort to deliver a planned maintenance programme which will need to continue into the future.

Why does the road need to close, and why is it scheduled in the daytime?

The characteristics of the road and topography of the mountain route present difficulty in minimising disruption – which is a priority consideration when the Council schedules work. 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, and the exposed location, its elevation and the specialist nature of the scheme makes overnight working unviable.

Therefore, the work is scheduled for the daytime over the summer holiday to minimise disruption – with the roads likely to be less busy during peak travel periods, and the likely disruption to home to school transport is also avoided.

Are local bus services affected by the closure?

As a result of the closure, the Stagecoach 172 service (Aberdare to Bridgend/Porthcawl) will be unable to serve its normal route on Mondays to Fridays. The Council has arranged for a shuttle bus service to operate for the duration of the closure, to maintain access to public transport for all residents.

Additional resources will be allocated to the 172 service, so it operates from Aberdare Bus Station non-stop in both directions to Tonypandy Bus Station, via Pontypridd. It will meet the shuttle bus in Tonypandy, which will operate to and from Maerdy. The shuttle bus timetable can be found here.

All journeys from Aberdare will start earlier and journey times will be increased – but ticketing arrangements are in place to ensure customers pay the normal fares. Please call Traveline Cymru (0800 464 000) for timetable information.

Why are works carried out more frequently on this route than others?

The 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 Mountain, must endure. If it wasn’t for the Council’s significant maintenance work on the Maerdy Mountain 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.

RCT Council is therefore continually working to future-proof the A4233, and will require further planned works beyond this summer as part of this ongoing effort. Repair or maintenance works are disruptive for a period, but they are also the difference between the road being available and open into the future, and not.