The essential landslip remediation works currently underway at Maerdy Mountain road were always going to cause an inconvenience for some drivers, but no one could have foreseen the absolute chaos the roadworks are causing in the small Rhondda village of Blaenllechau.
Blaenllechau, known locally as Blaen, leads to Llanwonno, known locally as Llan. Drivers can use this road to Llanwonno as a route into the Cynon Valley and while Maerdy Mountain is closed, it can be used as an alternative route to Aberdare, cutting out the official diversion route via Pontypridd, known locally as Ponty.
But the road to Llanowonno via Blanlleachau involves a very tricky and complex driving maneuver using a very special roundabout, so special that the road sign used to tell drivers how to use this roundabout doesn’t even get a mention in the The Highway Code.
The problem is outsiders have no idea how to use this quirky road feature and this is upsetting the locals, and other regular Llanwonno road users.
The road to Llanwonno from Blaenllechau involves a very acute turn, so acute in fact, that it once needed its own road sign, which read, “Very Acute Turn, Proceed on for 50 yards, reverse into side road and come back.” But the old sign post that once displayed these complex instructions was replaced in recent years with a simple roundabout sign.
Unfortunately, drivers who are new to Blaenllechau are ignoring the sign, and are trying to turn onto the Llanowonno road without driving past the turning and using the roundabout. They are simply performing, at best, a seven point turn to maneuver around the very acute turn.
Mary Fringe of Blaenllechau told My Rhondda News, “It’s absolutely ridiculous really, I saw a man in a van today doing a 11 point turn to try and get around the corner, he blocked the road and caused a major traffic jam, the Blaen bus was 4 minutes late.”
Mrs Fringe and other Blaenllechau locals took part in a peaceful protest today, which included a local folk band, a tiled mural, banners and placards urging motorists not to attempt the very acute turn and to proceed to the roundabout before continuing. She told us, “The protest appears to be working, only a handful of drivers have told us to feck off.”
The protest also involved several stalls, including bash the rat, a coconut shy and guess the name of the bear, the whole village turned out. Locals are determined to get the old sign reinstated.