A public consultation is planned to take place this autumn on proposals for a £17m scheme which could see the Pencoed level crossing closed for good and a new replacement Penprysg Road Bridge.

Traffic congestion is a long-standing issue in Pencoed, particularly on the road around the level crossing on Hendre Road when the barrier is down to allow rail services to pass through, as well as at Penprysg Road Bridge, which restricts flow to allow for one-way passage over the bridge in either direction.

The impact of the congestion not only constrains the town’s future capacity for growth but also impacts negatively on the local economy and environment.

In addition, the congestion issues create problems for bus services which are unable to achieve reliable journey times, while a lack of ramps around the existing footbridges mean that active travel links are severely restricted, particularly for those with wheelchairs, pushchairs and bicycles.

At a Bridgend County Borough Council Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 20 July, members received an update on studies into the proposals which also include an active travel bridge, allowing pedestrians and cyclists to cross from one side to the other.

While detailed construction costs will form part of the next stage of the study, a current conservative estimate is that the preferred option would cost around £17m.

Potential sources of funding for the work includes Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, Welsh Government and UK Government grants, and Network Rail.

The first stage of a Welsh Transport Appraisal Guidance study was completed in June 2019 which developed a list of options to help solve the issues – a short-list was then identified with further investigations taking place in the second stage of the study.

The assessments have been funded by the Welsh Government Local Transport Fund which is administered under the Cardiff City Region’s Metro Programme.

With the preferred option now involving the new bridge provision and the closure of the level crossing, the third stage would follow a public consultation and involve a detailed assessment to inform a decision on whether to continue.

As part of the process, a steering group has been set up involving representatives from the community, Chris Elmore MP, Huw Irranca-Davies MS, the local authority, Welsh Government, Network Rail, Transport for Wales and Pencoed Town Council.

The Leader, Cllr Huw David said: “This will be, without question, the single biggest transport project in the history of Bridgend County Borough Council.

“In addition to easing congestion and increasing safety by separating the road and railway line, this will also have a positive impact on the local economy and environment.

“We know that with queuing traffic comes air quality problems and we have a statutory duty to improve air quality and make sure it does not decline. This project is essential to ensuring a smooth flow of traffic through the town.

“The scheme is also about active travel as much as it is about any other form of transport which shows the importance we attach to active travel at the local authority.

“We look forward to the public consultation in the autumn, providing a chance for the community to share any issues or solutions they may have, which can then be explored.”

At the meeting, cabinet members approved plans to delegate authority to the Corporate Director for Communities to undertake a full public and stakeholder consultation on the scheme.

A further report on the consultation outcomes, proposed designs and any potential funding streams would then come before a future meeting of the Cabinet.