A new piece of equipment vital for the £100m expansion of the WEPA UK Bridgend Paper Mill at Llangynwyd is due to be delivered overnight between Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 February 2022 as part of an abnormal load convoy.
While the delivery will take place between 11pm and 5am to minimise inconvenience and disruption, drivers and residents who live along the route of the delivery are being urged to plan ahead.
Known as an MG cylinder or ‘Yankee Dryer’ and designed to remove excess moisture from pulp that is about to be converted into tissue paper, the equipment has been manufactured from stainless steel and is 25ft wide, almost 20ft in diameter and weighs up to 125 tonnes.
Due to its large size and weight, the cylinder will be delivered as part of a slow-moving abnormal load convoy which is expected to take several hours to travel between junction 36 of the M4 motorway at Sarn to the paper mill at Llangynwyd.
In order to ensure the equipment can be delivered safely, it will be necessary to temporarily remove some highways infrastructure along the route, and impose a temporary road closure on both sides of the A4063 at Tondu between its junctions with the A4065 Bryn Road and Cross Street so that additional bridge supports can be installed near Tondu Ironworks.
The road closure will be in effect between 11pm on Saturday 5 and 5am on Sunday 6 February, and the movement will be supported by the South Wales Police. An alternative route will be in place, but drivers are advised to plan well ahead as this will require them to travel via Neath Port Talbot.
Signage is being erected to advise people of the plans, and letters are being issued to local residents. Some households located near narrow sections of the route are also being asked to use alternative locations for overnight car parking while the delivery is underway.
If the delivery is unable to be carried out on the proposed dates, alternative plans are in place that will enable a second overnight road closure – if necessary, this would take place from 11pm on Sunday 6 February to 5am on Monday 7 February.
Cllr Stuart Baldwin, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “Given that it is being carried out overnight and that every effort is being made to minimise disruption, the vast majority of people will not be affected by the delivery of this large piece of equipment, but anyone who is planning to make an early morning journey should take note and plan ahead in order to avoid being inconvenienced.
“The council is supporting WEPA UK with the delivery as they remain a major employer within the local area, and the £100m expansion of the paper mills is creating 50 new skilled roles while safeguarding more than 270 existing jobs.
“With an additional 100 jobs supported by the construction phase of the expansion, WEPA UK’s investment into the 25-hectare site at Llangynwyd represents a major sign of confidence in Bridgend County Borough as a place where businesses are supported and encouraged to flourish.”
Tony Curtis, Joint Managing Director of WEPA UK Ltd, said: “This major investment at our Bridgend mill represents a huge vote of confidence in our nationwide retail customers, in each of our WEPA UK employees, and indeed in the local community that we are so proud to be part of.
“We are keen to minimise any disruption to residents and are very grateful for their patience during this limited disruption to the road network. WEPA UK Ltd thanks the Welsh Government and Bridgend County Borough Council for all their support which has helped our project to be executed during such unprecedented times.
“This event marks the delivery to the mill of the largest piece of equipment prior to the start-up of operations, and we thank all concerned for their collaboration.”