Funding details for the controversial road scheme were announced last week and planning and heritage specialist James Edwards believes the move could be crucial in bringing further investment into the principality.
He said: “Newport is a notorious chokepoint delaying motorway journeys into Wales and its traffic problems have certainly contributed to the city’s particularly difficult experience during the downturn.
“The words ‘Brynglas Tunnels’ send a shudder down the back of many a driver in South Wales. It is a shame that a city can get such a bad press on account of the motorway which serves it and the surrounding areas.”
James Edwards, who is recognised as one of the West’s leading commentators on planning and heritage issues, said: “There has been much support for the M4 relief road up to and including George Osborne but little in the way of detail on how the building costs would be met.
“But the announcement last week that the Welsh Government is to be given the borrowing capability to finance the new stretch will surely be a major game changer for the region, bringing this particular pipe dream another step closer to reality.
“People can start thinking about the benefits which could be brought to what is one of Britain’s newest cities and one which wants to prove itself on the bigger stage.”
He went on: “It is a well known fact around Severnside that Newport is a pinch point on the motorway network for anyone heading east or west into or out of Wales. The relief road has
been on the cards for a long time but it is a real step forward now that there is some clarity as to where the money may come from.
“It isn’t just a stumbling block for the city of Newport, but for destinations further west including Cardiff and the Valleys. This new relief road will be a real boon for all concerned.
“It can also open up the southern part of Newport and if planned carefully can give the port of Newport a big helping hand with the necessary infrastructure providing easier connections to the wider motorway network and this can only be a good thing.”