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24 February 2014
The building of the A465

The building of the A465

A feature by Mike Davies

A drive through the Neath valley on the A465 is without doubt one of the most scenic and beautiful in Wales.
 In spring, the vale of Neath awakes from its winter slumber. In the summer months, the valley shows off its greenest finery,
 and in autumn the rusts of autumn adorn the ever changing landscape, while in winter, the snow-capped mountains are breath-taking.
I watched the road being built and made a pictorial record from the start of the project to completion – which took me 3 years to complete,
 using both film & digital, on this pictorial you will see just a just a brief look at this massive undertaking by the contractors 
And footage never seen before
Variable glacial ground conditions, particularly at Aberdulais had to be dealt with.
I alone had two friends killed on the old notorious A465 and the so called missing link was well over due.
  New roads are often controversial, especially when they cut through virgin country side, but there was always a consensus that an extension to the new A465 would be best for the people who lived in Cadoxton, Aberdulais, Tonna, Resolven and Glynneath.

New section near Resolven
We needed the extension desperately, the villagers particularly in Abergarwed  in the vale of Neath held a blockade on the old A465
  and in the end they won the battle as the Welsh office finally gave in and said that they would go ahead with the so called missing link.
The contract was awarded to Alfred Mc Alpine Construction Ltd. in December 1993 for a tender sum of £45.745 million------ 
work started January 10th 1994, it opened to traffic on February 24th 1997.
Aberdulais Baptist church had to be demolished and, under the land compensation act of 1961.   A new church and community building was provided at Henfaes road Tonna.

Water levels in the river Neath rise and fall rapidly during flood conditions.   To keep the road above the 1 in 10 year storm flood level it had to be built on embankments requiring large quantities of fill material to be brought to the site.  

 The river Neath meanders through the valley and had to be bridged and diverted in several locations variable glacial ground conditions
 at Aberdulais had to be dealt with, also the wildlife was taken into consideration as water levels and deep water pools were created for migratory fish,  artificial otter holts were built to encourage this protected species to return to the river.

This massive concrete machine would lay one road width at a time
Served by lorries that looked like Dinky toys alongside this machine
It would start at Cwmgwrach to Aberdulais and then return on the op section
The concrete was mixed at Rheola and the lakes on the Cwmgwrach (the borrow pits) were used for the aggregate
 the whole section of the dual had to be scored to allow for traction and breaking and also in times of frost.

 Some of the materials used in the scheme
                                                   Fencing   28.600 metres
                                           Excavation 427.700 cubic metres
                                       Imported fill 2.4 million cubic metres
                                  Pipes, ducts and drains 39.500 Linear metres
                                       Road surfacing   292.500 square metres
                                    Structural concrete     39.300 cubic metres

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