A quiet road on the outskirts of Cardiff has been used as a diversion for HGVs which one business owner says have driven customers away. These lorries have started using Beulah Road in Rhiwbina, a mostly residential street with a few shops at one end, after traffic was diverted away from a bridge which needed essential repairs.
Fran Sykes, co-owner of Snails Delicatessen on Beulah Road with her husband Rupert, said the situation was "awful," and that customers didn't want to visit shops on the road when the lorries were around. She said: "It's a pain and people are stopping coming to Rhiwbina because they’re intimidated by the lorries and they can’t park.
"It's a bottleneck on Beulah Road. We’ve got lots of people who would like to come to us and have coffee with their friends but they’re so terrified and intimidated by these huge HGVs… you’ve got to weave in and out, and if you’re not a confident driver, it’s just dreadful."
Fran explained that, compared to nearby Whitchurch, Rhiwbina lacks off-road parking - meaning people park their cars on Beulah Road and make it narrow enough that the lorries cause a serious problem. She added that at night, you can "hear the rumbling and feel the vibrations" from the vehicles.
Another person, who works on the road but didn't want to be named, added: "It's all day, every day. It's not just HGVs but construction vehicles, aggregate lorries and flat bed lorries." The disruption started when a weight restriction was put on a railway bridge on Caerphilly Road, which Transport for Wales says needs "a substantial amount of strengthening work." Drivers have had to use the bridge on Pantbach Road instead, often using Beulah Road as a cut-through.
Cardiff Council originally put a statement out on social media advising HGV drivers to use Beulah Road, but is now saying they should use Heathwood Road and Fidlas Road, unless they're too tall for a bridge height restriction on that route.
A council spokesperson said: "The Council has implemented on-street signs to direct HGV traffic along the diversion route, which is Heathwood Road and Fidlas Road. However, recent traffic monitoring indicates that some HGVs are continuing to travel via Beulah Road and through Rhiwbina Village. This could be due to the bridge height restrictions on the Heathwood Road/Fidlas Road route.
"To clarify, any vehicle weighing over 18 tonnes should use the Heathwood Road/Fidlas Road route. Any vehicle that is higher than 14.9 foot cannot use this route and has to use Beulah Road. The council is unable to stop HGV traffic using Beulah Road, without an additional Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) being put in place. Due to the ongoing road works in this area, from a network management perspective, this isn’t feasible until the road works have been completed on Caerphilly Road first."
The spokesperson clarified that Beulah Road was originally identified as the best route for HGVs until a diversion had been properly planned, and signs and social media posts were made to indicate this. The Twitter post has now been deleted and signs amended to show the new route.
"The council will continue to engage with residents and business in the area," the spokesperson continued, "as well as post information on relevant information forums to advise the public of the position. It is important to note that due to the restraints on both of these alternative routes for HGV traffic, it isn’t an easy situation to resolve."