In 1967 the Welsh Office published a White Paper taking responsibly for trunk roads throughout South Wales entitled; ‘Wales: The Way Ahead’. The White Paper was published by the Government to review the need for economic development in South Wales and set out long term proposals for accelerating the enhancement of employment opportunities and social enhancements within the area. Following the White Paper report improvements were made to the A48 Port Talbot Bypass which allowed the town of Port Talbot to grow out of the original small port and market town of Aberafan into an emerging area for commerce.
Situated in Neath South Wales, Port Talbot has a population of 35,000 and known for industry. Part of the industrial infrastructure includes the A48 Talbot Bypass renamed the M4 in 1974. The M4 cuts through Port Talbot from southeast to northwest and with concrete walls on both sides has ended up becoming a place in its own right. It is the landscape that co-exists alongside, underneath and against the brutalist architecture of the M4 where the project ‘The Way Ahead’ resides.
The project ‘The Way Ahead’ considers the juxtaposition between the housing developments and the surrounding motorway and relationship of the built-environment within Port Talbot and the surrounding M4 motorway. Relating to the significant interchange between suburbia and the motorway, ‘The Way Ahead’ concentrates on the economic, social and physical identity of the landscape and how this has become a part of daily life for a large amount of local people. Taking influence from the New Topographics: Man Altered Landscapes exhibition (1975) and shooting objectivity ‘The Way Ahead’ project encompasses the same objective ideologies. As stated by Joe Kerr in Along Some American Highways (2003); ‘the highway may have spawned a version of life that is often mundane, monotonous and banal, but the point is that it is actually there’. ‘The Way Ahead’ is on-going.