Monmouthshire County Council has today confirmed that the traffic lights on Bridge Street in Usk will be removed by 7am on Monday 10th May, allowing for the return to two-way traffic. The decision has come following a review of the traffic management system and feedback from businesses and residents.

As Wales now enters Alert Level 3 of its COVID plan, with schools and the majority of businesses having reopened, the short-term interventions introduced by the council in 2020 have been re-evaluated. When the measures were introduced last year, the COVID-19 case rates across the county were significantly higher and the vaccine roll out had not taken place. Now, with more vehicles on the roads through Usk once again, the council has taken a view that benefits of the temporary traffic measures are being negated by the issues experienced recently by motorists and businesses.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The easing of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of schools and businesses have resulted in increased traffic volumes in Usk and we have been aware of longer queue times and queue lengths along Bridge Street recently. We are concerned that with the increased traffic levels, the temporary lights are no longer operating effectively and have concluded that now is the right time to remove them. Although pollution levels remain well below trigger levels, we are also concerned that increased queue lengthscould result in a potential impact on air quality, which we want to avoid.”

“The pavements in Usk are narrow, so we will be reliant on residents and visitors to remember to maintain social distance wherever possible and, where this is not possible, to wear a mask.”

“A combination of the temporary traffic lights, improved signage and increased enforcement have helped reduce the number of lorries exceeding the weight limit of 7.5 tonnes passing through town. The council will continue to work with Usk Town Council and Lorry Watch volunteers to monitor the current regulations, which prohibit lorries exceeding 7.5 tonnes in weight unless they require access for deliveries and loading. We will also continue to work with Gwent Police and GoSafe to ensure the 20mph speed limit in Usk town is observed.”

As we move forward, during the summer there will be an opportunity to engage with the council on the future vision for Usk which will include managing traffic flows through the town, but for now the priority needs to be supporting the businesses of the town and creating a good experience for visitors and residents alike. Although being removed from their current location, the flower barrels will stay in Usk and will be relocated to maintain the unique feeling of our ‘Town of Flowers’.”