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Glamorgan • Monmouthshire
Highway Authority
Forward Destination on
M4 • A48(M) • A470
Next Primary Destinations
Newport • Bridgend • Merthyr Tydfil
Places related to the M4
Bridgend • Swindon • Swansea • Neath • Maidenhead • Newport • Reading • Slough • Port Talbot • Chippenham • Newbury • London • Brentford • Bristol
Places related to the A48
Places related to the A470
This article is about the city in South Wales.
For the Highway Authority based around the city, see Cardiff Council

Cardiff / Caerdydd is a city situated on the north side of the Severn Estuary, in the south-east region of Wales. It is the county town of Glamorgan and has been the capital of Wales since 1955.


By the mid 20th century traffic congestion in the city was increasing due to growing car ownership. New roads were planned to cater for the expected growth in traffic. One of the earlier proposals of the period was for an inner bypass to relieve the A48. The line for this was fixed in 1958 but it took over a decade before it opened in around 1970 as Eastern Avenue.

Buchanan's dreams

The mid 1960s saw the beginning of the most ambitious schemes.

Buchanan's plans from 1966

Professor Buchanan was commissioned to look into ways of solving the city's traffic problems. In 1966 he produced a transportation study report called the "Probe Study" in which he recommends a major redevelopment of the city centre along with a network of high capacity dual carriageways linking most parts of the city.

1968 proposals

In 1968 Buchanan published a follow up to his 1966 report called the "Main Study Report". Some modifications were made to the 1966 proposals including the removal of some of the planned roads such as the Northern Tangential and the alteration to the route of the some of the other roads. At around this time, April 1968, the city adopted Buchanan's plans as policy and work was quickly under way on drawing up plans for the new roads. It was apparent that a road system of this size and complexity would take a number of decades to complete and the whole system was anticipated to be complete by 2001. It was also clear the network would have to be built in stages. The first stage, known as the "Short Term Primary Highway Programme", consisted of some of the most important parts of the system. This was the Caerphilly Radial, Central Primary and the central section of the Southern Primary. Together this stage was known as the Hook Road due to its shape. The Hook Road was the responsibility of the City of Cardiff. At the same time another part of the network was being developed by central government. The Llantrisant Radial and Eastern Avenue were to be trunk roads which would provide an inner bypass for Cardiff until the M4 to the north of the city was built. Traffic levels at the time suggested the M4 would be needed until much later.

Things were progressing slowly, not least because of environmental concerns and loss of property. The 1968 map shows how many houses would be affected by the new roads. 3386 would be affected in total. These figures appear to exclude commercial property. In addition the Hook Road was planned to cut a swathe through Cathays Cemetery where it joins the A48 which would require a vast number of graves to be exhumed. This together with vocal community opposition meant the alignment for the some of the roads and junctions were altered in places to reduce the impact on the community but the roads were still a source of friction.

Eastern Avenue was completed along with the three level junction at Gabalfa in around 1970.

In the summer of 1971 the government transferred responsibility for the Llantrisant Radial to the city and county councils. The city was already battling to get the Hook Road built so it came as no surprise when the Llantrisant Radial was scrapped soon afterwards to the joy of those who lived on either of its two planned routes. The government meanwhile brought forward plans to complete the M4 around Cardiff meaning the inner bypass would no longer be needed.

By late 1972 the Hook Road had also bitten the dust. Again, local residents were celebrating the road's demise. By now the grand vision of Buchanan was in tatters and the remainder of the proposed roads were also canned. The only roads that were built was Eastern Avenue and the short spur between Eastern Avenue and the Southern Primary.

Later plans

While residents who lived on the routes of the scrapped schemes were celebrating the city council went back to the drawing board. The need for road improvements was still there and in the late 1970s a much reduced scheme was planned. This would be a loop around the south of Cardiff running between the spur off Eastern Avenue and the M4 at M4 J33 together with a short spur between the docks and city centre. This was built during the 1980s and 1990s as the A4232 except for the eastern section which remains unfinished. Part of this road closely follows the line of the earlier Buchanan era proposals between M4 J33 and Llandough. The section adjacent to the Ely River in particular matches the alignment of the Western Tangential.


Route To Notes


Bristol, London, Newport, (Chepstow) Accessed via A48 & A48(M) from City Centre. Junctions 30 (A4232), 32 (A470) and 33 (A4232) can also be used.


Bridgend, Swansea Accessed via A470 (J32) or A4232 (J33), although junction 30 (A4232) can also be used.


Newport (M4) Through road from A48 Cardiff Central. The A48(M) is a spur from the M4, with traffic only to/from M4 Newport


Merthyr Tydfil, Pontypridd


City Centre


Cardiff Bay, (A48) Cardiff Bypass Road from the M4 to Cardiff Bay, via A48 for City Centre. Rover Way can be used to join 2 parts of the A4232, which picks up East of Cardiff from the A48 to the M4. Tunnel maintained by Vale of Glamorgan highways authority.


Newport Dual Carriageway through City Centre. Through route to A48(M), use junction for Newport route.


Cowbridge, Cardiff Airport











Penarth, International Sports Village





Sully/Sili, Atlantic Trading Est/Yst Fasnachu Iwerydd





Related Pictures
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A48 RCS St Mellons.jpgCardiff road sign sculpture 2 - Coppermine - 619.jpgCardiff traffic lights - unusual sequencing - Coppermine - 16243.jpgLlanishen Interchange.pngM4 VMS Wales - Coppermine - 22194.jpg
Places in Wales
Major destinationsBridgend Pen-y-bont ar Ogwr • Cardiff Caerdydd • Cwmbrân • Llanelli • Merthyr Tydfil Merthyr Tudful • Neath Castell-nedd • Newport Casnewydd • Port Talbot • Swansea Abertawe • Wrexham Wrecsam
Other primary destinationsAbergavenny Y Fenni • Aberystwyth • Bala Y Bala • Bangor • Betws-y-Coed • Brecon Aberhonddu • Builth Wells Llanfair-ym-Muallt • Caernarfon • Cardigan Aberteifi • Carmarthen Caerfyrddin • Chepstow Cas-gwent • Conwy • Dolgellau • Fishguard Abergwaun • Haverfordwest Hwlffordd • Holyhead Caergybi • Llandeilo • Llandovery Llanymddyfri • Llandrindod Wells Llandrindod • Llandudno • Llangollen • Llangurig • Machynlleth • Milford Haven Aberdaugleddau • Mold Yr Wyddgrug • Monmouth Trefynwy • Newtown Y Drenewydd • Pembroke Dock Doc Penfro • Porthmadog • Queensferry • Rhayader Rhaeadr Gwy • Ruthin Rhuthun • St Clears Sanclêr • Tenby Dinbych-y-pysgod • Welshpool Y Trallwng
Other placesAberaeron • Abergele • Barry Y Barri • Beaumaris • Caerphilly Caerffili • Cardiff-Wales Airport Maes Awyr Caerdydd-Cymru • Denbigh Dinbych • Ebbw Vale Glen Ebwy • Flint Y Fflint • Harlech • Hirwaun • Lampeter Llanbedr Pont Steffan • Llangefni • Pontypool Pont-y-pŵl • Pontypridd • Prestatyn • Presteigne Llanandras • Pwllheli • Rhyl Y Rhyl • St Asaph Llanelwy • St Davids Tyddewi • Treherbert • Treorchy Treorci • Y Felinheli

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