Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates said delivering a solution to the problems was a manifesto commitment
The M4 bottleneck at Newport will stop companies investing in Bridgend and will mean the area misses out on a billion pound City Deal, fears a local councillor.
The £1.2bn Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, which involves 10 local authorities, aims to create 25,000 jobs across the region and bring in £4bn of private sector investment by 2036.
Rather than a fixed number of specific projects outlined from the start like the Swansea Bay City Deal, the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal has a different set-up and is yet to decide on exactly where the majority of the funding will go.
But Bridgend councillor Carolyn Webster has raised fears that the congestion on the M4, particularly around where it narrows to two lanes at the Brynglas Tunnels in Newport, would prevent companies from coming forward with investment plans in the Bridgend area.
She asked City Deal chairman Councillor Andrew Morgan and Bridgend council leader Huw David at a recent meeting whether pressure was being put on the Welsh Government to resolve the issue.
Responding, councillor David said a public inquiry into the M4 relief road had concluded and the Welsh Government was due to make a decision shortly.
He said: “The case has been made and we hope a decision is made soon either way in terms of providing that certainty around the future of that project.”
Councillor Morgan added: “With the costs spiralling to close to £2bn for the black route [a new 14 mile six-lane stretch of motorway south of Newport], it may well be that other solutions need to be looked at in terms of improving that route rather than simply building a bypass.
“We are clear however that the bottleneck around there needs to be addressed because it is a blockage on the economy in South Wales.”
Economy and Transport Secretary Ken Skates said delivering a solution to the problems was a manifesto commitment and the proposed M4 project was nearing the conclusion of the statutory decision making process.
He said: “The M4 Corridor around Newport Project would improve the economic performance and attractiveness of Wales as a place to do business, live and visit, helping to attract and retain skilled jobs and investment, with cascading socio-economic benefits to local communities and those further afield.
“A year-long public inquiry heard detailed evidence and allowed all parties to have their say, both for and against the scheme. Once received the inspector’s report will be given due consideration.
“In recognition of the importance of this matter to the whole of Wales, we have committed to a debate in government time in the Assembly before a final decision is made by the Welsh ministers on whether to proceed to construction.”