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Logistics operators advised to avoid M4

By: Chris Taylor
28 July 2011

Motorists are being advised to avoid the M4 motorway near Newport at all costs, following a lorry fire three days ago.

As a result of the damage incurred in the Brynglas tunnel on Tuesday morning, a contraflow system is in place whilst engineers assess the scale of the damage.

It has been warned that this could have severe repercussions for those with jobs in logistics work as Martin Evans, from the Wales Transport Research Centre at the University of Glamorgan, told Wales Online.

"In the short term this is the best they can do," he sympathised. "They have to undertake the assessment and safety work in order to bring the tunnel back into use.

Mr Evans worried that if delays continued into next week it could deter businesses from investing in Wales.

"If you are a freight logistics company that has to pass through this tunnel and you are making 'just in time' deliveries, if they are not delivered on time, production will stop," he said.

The researcher was then critical of the Welsh infrastructure, saying that the country could be considered a "laughing stock" due to the lack of other major roads in and out of the country.

The situation for logistics workers is further compounded by regulations that dictate how much time drivers are allowed at the wheel. Mr Evans believes this could be wasted if drivers are stuck in traffic.

A BBC News report says that average delays are around 30 minutes; however a full structural review will have to be conducted which could increase this time into the coming week.

The driver involved in Tuesday's blaze escape unharmed.

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