|Maintained by English local authorities and South Wales Trunk Road Agency|
|Length||66 mi (106 km)|
| M4 Junction 43|
|East end||Bromyard, Herefordshire|
The A465 is a trunk road that runs from Bromyard in Herefordshire, England to Llandarcy near Swansea in South Wales. The western half is known officially as the Neath to Abergavenny Trunk Road, but the section from Abergavenny to the Vale of Neath is more commonly referred to as the Heads of the Valleys Road because it links the northern heads of the South Wales Valleys. Approximately following the southern boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park, the Ordnance Survey Pathfinder guide describes it as the unofficial border between rural and industrial South Wales. The A465 provides an alternative route between England and the counties in South West Wales and to the ferries to Ireland.
The A465 runs south-west from Bromyard towards the River Lugg, from where it runs concurrently with the A4103 for a short distance before entering Hereford. After a short distance on the A49, it crosses the River Wye, the River Monnow and the border into Wales. The A465 meets the A40 trunk road in Abergavenny and continues west through the 'Heads of the Valleys' region past Brynmawr, Ebbw Vale, Tredegar, Rhymney, Merthyr Tydfil, Hirwaun, Glynneath and Aberdulais.
Even before the construction of the Heads of the Valleys road began in the 1960s, there were concerns and complaints regarding the capacity and safety of a single carriageway, three-lane design. The Abergavenny–Neath trunk road opened in 1964.
Until 1996, the A465 ran for most of its length between Glynneath and Aberdulais along a narrow single carriageway road, now redesignated as the B4242. The high collision rate on this stretch was the main factor in leading to the construction of the dual carriageway between these points. The section of the A465 from Hirwaun to Llandarcy is all dual carriageway.
The highest point (signposted) of 1,350 feet (410 m) is on the Ebbw Vale section which is now dual carriageway and slip roads between Dowlais Top and Tredegar via Rhymney. At Dowlais Top there are link roads such as the A4060, which runs down to the south end of Merthyr Tydfil and links with the A470, and the A4054 which goes through Merthyr Vale and Aberfan. Another link is the A4102 which leads into Dowlais and Merthyr Tydfil town centre. The A465 passes Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil and then continues to Cefn-coed-y-cymmer and the A470 link. It then continues down the floor of the Vale of Neath, bypassing Resolven, Neath and Skewen, before terminating at junction 43 of the M4 at Llandarcy.
In 1990, a regional traffic study identified the need for improvements to the A465. In 1994, alternatives were presented for public consultation for the improvement of the 25-mile length between Abergavenny and Hirwaun, connecting the existing A465 dual carriageway link from Swansea to the A40, which is an important part of the route to the M50. In July 1995 the then Secretary of State for Wales announced the preferred route. This mainly consisted of widening the existing road to provide a dual carriageway standard with grade-separated junctions (and extra climbing lanes on certain hills) between Abergavenny and Hirwaun. The design was developed and a draft line order was published in 1997. This was tested at public local inquiry in 1998 after which the Secretary of State for Wales announced the decision to proceed with the scheme in 1999.
Much of the land on the route is undulating, but despite this, the preferred route alignment is considered to be of high standard and as such allows most of the route to have the national speed limit.
Initially, the upgrade was split into seven sections. Later, sections 6 and 7 were combined into a single scheme for the purposes of construction.
|Section||From / To||Commencement date||Completion date||Status|
|1||Abergavenny to Gilwern||February 2005||May 2008||Complete|
|2||Gilwern to Brynmawr||December 2014||December 2021||Complete|
|3||Brynmawr to Tredegar||January 2013||September 2015||Complete|
|4||Tredegar to Dowlais Top||March 2002||November 2004||Complete|
|5||Dowlais Top to A470||Early 2021 ||Due by mid-2025 ||Under construction|
|6||A470 Junction to Hirwaun||Early 2021 ||Due by mid-2025 ||Under construction|
The A465 between Llandarcy and Hirwaun was initially constructed to dual carriageway standard, and as such will not see a major upgrade. Construction work began on section 4 (Tredegar to Dowlais Top) in early spring 2002, and was completed by November 2004.
Construction of section 1 (Abergavenny to Gilwern) began in February 2005. This was primarily an on-line upgrade of the existing single-carriageway road, and was completed on 22 May 2008.
The contract for Section 3 (Brynmawr to Tredegar) was awarded to Carillion in March 2010. In August 2012, it was announced that approval for the scheme to commence had been given and that construction would commence by the end of 2012.
Planning for Section 2 (Gilwern to Brynmawr) started in June 2011, with construction beginning in January 2015. The project saw several delays and cost overruns, and was completed in December 2021.
On 10 November 2020, the Welsh Government announced that the contract for Section 5 & 6 (Dowlais Top to Hirwaun) had been awarded to Future Valleys Construction, a consortium which 'comprises large international construction companies alongside established financial investors'. Site clearance works began shortly thereafter, and major construction work commenced in May 2021. Completion of the scheme is programmed for mid-2025.