LONG-AWAITED roadworks to replace a damaged culvert on one of the main roads through northern Powys were due to begin today, kicking off a diversion that will be in place for several months.

The A458 between Welshpool and Llanfair Caereinion will be fully closed in both directions near Golfa Hall until mid-April, according to a schedule of works published by Traffic Wales.

The work is to replace a collapsed culvert running underneath the road.

County Times: The diversion routeThe diversion route

The essential work will be carried out under the full carriageway closure, preventing traffic in both directions. The closure will be in place 24 hours a day.

A long diversion will be in place, taking traffic on a lengthy detour that travels north of Meifod. Work is expected to be completed on April 14.

Traffic will be diverted at the A458 Raven Roundabout, Welshpool, onto the A490 north for approximately six miles to the junction with the A495.

Traffic will then journey south west along the A495 for approximately eight miles before re-joining the A458 at Llanfair Caereinion.

While the delays from the work could be lengthy, the work has been long-awaited, with temporary lights having been in place for the last two years, frustrating drivers.

Drivers heading for the coast from the Midlands should also be aware of the diversion – the route is one of the main routes to the coast from Shropshire. Drivers wanting to go to Machynlleth, Aberystwyth and Barmouth may want to travel via the Newtown bypass while the work is completed.

In its FAQs on the subject, Traffic Wales said the diversion was such a long one to allow for large vehicles to use it.

It said: "The diversion route signposted is the shortest possible alternative route utilising similar or better classes of road (A roads in the case).

"This ensures that all vehicles – in particular HGVs – can negotiate the route safely."

It added that the full closure was requiredrather than traffic lights.

"Due to the depth of the existing partially collapsed culvert and the narrow width of the carriageway, the full width of the road is needed to ensure the safety of the workforce and to eliminate the risk to road users," the statement read.

"During the works the full width of the carriageway will be excavated to the level of the culvert. Unfortunately, due to the constricted nature of the site it is not possible to carry out these works using traffic lights.

"The work involves over 350 cubic metres of earthworks, the placement of over 50 cubic metres of structural concrete, the craning of several new culvert units as well as fencing, resurfacing and other ancillary activities. Every effort will be made to minimise disruption and reduce the length of time taken on site."

For further information, contact Traffic Wales 0300 123 1213 or via Twitter @TrafficWalesN.