COMPENSATION payouts to people whose land has been affected by the decades-long roadworks on the A465 Heads of the Valley route ranged from a paltry £2.38 to a massive £10.7m.
The Welsh Government has paid out a total of £45.6m over the 20 years the construction has taken for the loss of land or because its value has depreciated.
A Freedom of Information request to the Welsh Government for sums paid out under the Land Compensation Act revealed that upgrades to the section 1 stretch of road from Abergavenny to Gilwern, which took place from 2005 to 2008, saw payouts totalling £7.4m that included payments of as little as £4 right up to £1.4m, with compensation of £4,186 still being paid out in 2020.
On section 2 between Gilwern and Brynmawr, where upgrade work began in late 2014 but has been hit by construction difficulties around Clydach Gorge, 40 claimants have received payouts totalling more than £4.5m.
The biggest was for £1.9m in 2015, while the smallest was £770.
On Section 3, from Brynmawr to Tredegar, where upgrade work took place between 2013 and 2015, payouts have been made every year since 2011, with 38 successful claims totalling £4.4m, the largest being £691,000 and the smallest £1,485.
Compensation of nearly £15m has been awarded on Section 4 (Tredegar to Dowlais Top), with the largest for £1.7m, and the smallest just £2.38. Upgrade work on sections 5 and 6 (Dowlais Top to Hirwaun) is set to take several more years to complete, but compensation worth more than £14.3m has already been paid out to 13 claimants, from £3,220 to £10.7m.
Under the Land Compensation Act, people can make a claim if public works such as major roadworks affect their property, such as depreciating its value and even losing their homes due to construction work.
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “Compensation to individuals and businesses affected by road schemes is paid in line with statutory procedures and is usually based on the advice of professionals representing the parties involved.”
The huge £800m revamp between Abergavenny and Hirwaun converting the tree-lane road into a dual carriageway has already lasted two decades.
Work has been beset by delays and problems, with Brynmawr residents and shopkeepers shut off for 15 months due to the ongoing works on the five-mile Clydach stretch until last November when the route was partially
During the shutdown, travellers to and from Abergavenny were forced to divert via Rassau in a 20-minute re-route.
The Clydach phase of Wales’ current biggest road project was originally scheduled to last three to four months, but has taken three years longer.
Some 1.3 million cubed metres of material - equivalent to 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools – had to be excavated and repairs made to the Clydach viaduct, with the project reportedly going £100m over budget.
Shopkeepers said they were losing £800 a month in trade during the 15-month road closure, while residents have also expressed anger that highways chiefs plan to impose a 50mph speed limit on the dual carriageway when it is finally completed.