The view from a footbridge over Afan Road, Port Talbot
The A4241 – also known, in official circles at least, as the Port Talbot Peripheral Distributor Road – is a recently completed (though some years in the building!) 9.5-km route, running parallel to the A48 and the M4 motorway in Port Talbot, South Wales. Designed to remove local traffic from the M4, overloaded on its passage through Port Talbot, as well as through traffic on the A48 in the town centre, the A4241 runs southwest of these two routes from Baglan in the northwest to Margam on the southeastern outskirts of the town.
The route was completed in stages, the first of which (1A: the dualling of the first 900 metres of Seaway Parade running southwest from Sunnycroft roundabout on the A48) dates back as far as the completion in 1994 of the M4 Baglan to Lôn-las extension, which it crosses. Stage 1C was next: this involved the construction of 1.1 km of new dual carriageway from the Port Talbot Industrial Park, at the southeast end of Afan Way, to the already existing roundabout on the A48 Heilbronn Way near Port Talbot bus station. Stage 1B was the dualling between these first two sections of Afan Way itself. Work on this started on 12 September 2005 and was completed in February 2007.
A ceremony to mark the start of Stage 2, the final phase of construction – from the Port Talbot Industrial Park zone, in the area lying north of the docks, to the A48 immediately west of Junction 38 of the M4 at Margam – was held on 14 December 2010 and official opening of this section of the route took place in mid-October 2013, although the entire route had in fact been accessible to traffic since late August 2013. This was the most difficult part of the route to construct since it had to be built across land that, where it was not also contaminated by former heavy industrial use, is made up of areas of loose sands and marsh. As well as the clearance of many old industrial installations and the large-scale rerouting of services, a new skew bridge was required for the crossing of the South Wales main railway line. Extensive use was made in the road's foundations of recycled slag from the area's steelworks. This section of the route has been named Harbour Way.
The A4241 is dual-carriageway throughout and as well as the main line includes a branch leading from east of the new roundabout bridge over the River Afan into Port Talbot town centre, via another river bridge: this is the section 1B already mentioned above. To encourage use of the new route, "traffic calming" measures have been introduced on two "old" routes from the town centre: Water Street leading southwest towards the extensive Sandfields residential district and Talbot Road / Commercial Road / Margam Road heading southeastward towards Junction 38 of the M4.