Sunny weekend brings thousands to Island
7:49am Thursday 20th February 2014 in News
WEEKS of wind and rain gave way to glorious sunshine last weekend, and visitors flocked to Barry Island in their thousands.
Unfortunately, the sudden influx of sun seekers also once again exposed flaws in the island's traffic system, with six-hour tailbacks forming in late afternoon, as people began leaving Barry.
While encouraged by the amount of people choosing to venture to Barry Island on a warm February day, Barry business owners and residents also expressed concerns about how the Island will cope with an even bigger volume of visitors in the summer months.
Marco Zeraschi, owner of Marco's Cafe, estimates that 4000 to 5000 people made their way to Barry Island on Sunday, February 16.
"It was a nice day and everybody is fed up of being stuck in the house," he said. "So they head for Barry Island.
"Barry Island is a seasonal resort but we are dictated to by the weather, so when it's nice we are going to get a lot of cars and a lot of traffic."
Explaining that he believes many factors contribute to the increasing frequency of traffic jams as people try to leave Barry Island on sunny days - such as increasing residential numbers and a lack of traffic management - he said that most important to alleviating the problems, is bringing forward the new £2million link road with an increased sense of urgency.
"We could do with it now," he said. "They need to bring it forward a bit."
The Barry Waterfront Consortium, Welsh Government and Vale Council are due finalise legal agreements regarding the link road next month – after negotiating a £2m Welsh Government loan to construct the much-needed route on and off Barry Island.
This sentiment that a 2015 completion date is still too far away was echoed by Island Residents' Association Chairman Ian Bailey.
He said: "Yet again Harbour Road was gridlocked due to people flocking to the Island resort to take advantage of the first nice day in a long while.
"The second access road should have been started 12 months ago.
"If anybody needed to get off the Island in an emergency Sunday evening they would have had a major problem. There needs to be more urgency from all parties to get this road built now."
Vale council highway works manager Stephen Bowen said: "We’re aware of some congestion on the Island due to the large amount of visitors, which is usual on a day when the weather is particularly good for the time of year."