Dual the A5 campaign: 'Our warnings were ignored'

When the Oswestry and Chirk bypasses were opened in 1990 and 1991 there were celebrations and sighs of relief that the heavy A5 traffic would no longer drive straight through the middle of the border towns.

There were even clever charity fundraising events held with sponsored walks held on both impressive road bridges over the Rivers Dee and Ceiriog, the only chance pedestrians would get to stand on the structure and marvel at the engineering and the spectacular views.

But at the time there were already warning voices being sounded that the roads would not be enough to take the ever increasing volumes of traffic.

And now they say they have been proved right.

David Towers was chief executive of Oswestry Borough Council, which was the middle tier of government for the area under local government organisation.

He was part of a group which organised a meeting of all stakeholders to launch the campaign to dual the bypass.

Even back then it was the only single carriageway on the TransEuropean network from Holyhead to mainland Europe.

He says he is angry that the voices were not listened to.

"Too many lives have been lost and too many injuries suffered because of inaction by UK Government," Mr Towers said.

"On top of the individual tragedies millions of pounds that have been spent dealing with road accidents would have been saved if the Oswestry bypass had been built as a dual carriageway not single carriageway."

"I am not sure of the exact figures but I think that it cost £9 million to build the Oswestry bypass and would have cost £14 million to build a dual carriageway, a road that would have been fit for purpose. "

When the bridges over the Dee and Ceiriog rivers were built Mr Towers, a keen athlete, ran the length of the unopened bypass as part of the sponsored walk over the bridges.

"Oswestry Rotary Club set up a 'checkpoint' on the Ceiriog river bridge at the English/Welsh border and everyone who took part were given commemoration mugs."

"While welcoming improvements many of us were worried about the future and we have been proved right."

Malcolm Gough worked on the Oswestry bypass between 1986 and May 1990 when it opened.

"I said then that the road would be a death trap," he said.

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