A465 road

Coordinates: 51°50′39″N 3°00′00″W / 51.8442°N 2.9999°W / 51.8442; -2.9999 (A465 road)
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A465 shield
The Heads of the Valleys Road A465 road (2012).jpg
Route information
Maintained by English local authorities and South Wales Trunk Road Agency
Length66 mi (106 km)
Major junctions
West endLlandarcy
51°38′57″N 3°50′55″W / 51.6492°N 3.8486°W / 51.6492; -3.8486 (A465 road (western end))
Major intersections M4 Junction 43
East endBromyard, Herefordshire
52°11′13″N 2°30′50″W / 52.1870°N 2.5139°W / 52.1870; -2.5139 (A465 road (eastern end))
CountryUnited Kingdom
Merthyr Tydfil
Road network
A464 A466

The A465 is a trunk road that runs from Bromyard in Herefordshire, England to Llandarcy near Swansea in south Wales. The western half in Wales is known officially as the Neath to Abergavenny Trunk Road,[1] 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.[2] The A465 provides an alternative route between England and the counties in South West Wales and to the ferries to Ireland.[3]


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.

The A465 runs over the former Merthyr, Tredegar and Abergavenny Railway line (1965)
Highest point of the A465 road

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 AbergavennyNeath trunk road opened in 1964.[4]

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.[5][6]

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.

Major upgrade[edit]

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.[7]

Initially, the upgrade was split into seven sections. Later, sections 6 and 7 were combined into a single scheme for the purposes of construction.

A465 upgrade sections are
Section From / To Commencement date Completion date Status Final Cost
1 Abergavenny to Gilwern February 2005 May 2008 Complete £57m[8]
2 Gilwern to Brynmawr December 2014[9] December 2021[10] Complete £336.2m[8]
3 Brynmawr to Tredegar January 2013 September 2015 Complete £163.3m[8]
4 Tredegar to Dowlais Top March 2002 November 2004 Complete £57.8m[8]
5 & 6 Dowlais Top to Hirwaun Early 2021[11] Due by mid-2025 [11] Under construction £590m[12]

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.[13]

Planning for Section 2 (Gilwern to Brynmawr) started in June 2011, with construction beginning in January 2015.[14] The project saw several delays and cost overruns, and was completed in December 2021.[15]

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'.[16] Site clearance works began shortly thereafter, and major construction work commenced in May 2021. Completion of the scheme is programmed for mid-2025.[17]

The junction of the A470 and A465 during construction in 2023

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "A465 HEADS OF THE VALLEYS DUALLING SECTION 3: BRYNMAWR TO TREDEGAR" (PDF). Carillion plc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  2. ^ OS Pathfinder Guide, Brecon Beacons and Glamorgan. Ordnance Survey 1994.
  3. ^ Welsh Government – A465 (Heads of the Valleys Road) – Dualling Scheme Archived 16 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Heads of the Valleys Road". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 17 February 1960.
  5. ^ "A465". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). 8 June 1992.
  6. ^ "Cymdeithas Hanes Resolfen History Society: Where is Resolfen?".
  7. ^ "New higher speed limits for lorries in England and Wales". THE HIGHWAY CODE.
  8. ^ a b c d "Request for Information - ATISN 18667" (PDF). Welsh Government. 26 July 2023. Retrieved 8 March 2024.
  9. ^ "Green light for next stage of widening project | A465 Section 2". Archived from the original on 21 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Written Statement: A465 Dualling Section 2 (Gilwern to Brynmawr) Project Update". Welsh Government. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  11. ^ a b "A465 section 5 and 6 Dowlais Top to Hirwaun". Welsh Government. Retrieved 21 December 2019.
  12. ^ "A465 section 5 and 6 Dowlais Top to Hirwaun". Welsh Government. 7 December 2023. Retrieved 8 March 2024.
  13. ^ "A465 Road Dualling Scheme Brynmawr to Tredegar". Archived from the original on 16 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  14. ^ "A465 Section 2 Project Website". Archived from the original on 9 January 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
  15. ^ "Heads of the Valleys road section opens three years late". BBC. 30 December 2021.
  16. ^ "A465: Contract awarded for A465 improvements". 10 November 2021 – via gov.wales.
  17. ^ "A465: Section 5 & 6 Dowlais Top to Hirwaun Overview". 8 July 2021 – via gov.wales.

External links[edit]

51°50′39″N 3°00′00″W / 51.8442°N 2.9999°W / 51.8442; -2.9999 (A465 road)