IT IS full steam ahead on work towards securing a new multi-million pound bypass creating a major gateway into Powys, says Montgomeryshire's MP.

MP Craig Williams says 'big progress' is being made 'at pace' on an attempt to bring the long-awaited bypass on the A483 between Llanymynech and Pant into a reality.

Last year as part of the budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced £10 million of UK Government funding into a consultation for the proposed bypass.

The ambitious plans also featured extensive improvements to road infrastructure along the A5 into Shropshire and North Wales.

It is hoped that if the project comes to fruition, it will make life easier for people who live, work and access public services on different sides of the Wales-England Border, by enabling drivers to bypass the two villages between Welshpool and Oswestry where bottlenecks frequently occur.

The bypass would be expected to provide an economic boost to businesses both sides of the border, and greatly improve the safety of road users, significantly reducing journey times, on what is a notorious stretch of road.

A campaign by residents and politicians to bring a bypass to the two villages has been ongoing for around 40 years.

Speaking to the County Times this week, Mr Williams says work has continued on the project throughout the pandemic to keep it on track, and the next major stage will be this August when options are expected to be presented.

He said "big progress" is being made towards getting to a design stage, where an option paper with potential routes can be produced.

"The procurement stage is due to finish this August, when we should have the modelling options and value for money report", said Mr Williams.

"I'm expecting to see those by August this year. Highways England are leading on this, with the Welsh Government and obviously the councils on both sides of the border also interested stakeholders in this project.

"I met with the Minister at the end of October and it was clear progress is being made, nothing has slipped during the pandemic.

"I'm pleased that work has been carrying on at pace since the budget announcement last March, despite coronavirus, and I'm looking forward to seeing the modelling and concepts in August."

Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire, added: "It is very positive that serious studies are now underway on the Pant – Llanymynech bypass."