The A472 is a cross valley link road in South Wales that runs west to east across the old South Wales coalfield from Treharris through Nelson, Ystrad Mynach, Maesycwmmer, Pontllanfraith, Newbridge, Crumlin, Hafodyrynys, Pontypool and thence into the Usk valley, through Little Mill and Usk to a junction with the A449.
It effectively covers a cross section of south east Wales from the post-industrial valleys to rural Monmouthshire, passing through small villages, larger towns, areas of relative prosperity and areas benefitting from redevelopment and it is a road that plays a part in that rejuvenation.
The road has been largely created from new and improved sections developed since 1980.
Between 1992 and 1994 a major by-pass was built to ease the bottleneck of traffic around Pontllanfraith. This dual carriageway runs from Maesycwmmer in the West through to Newbridge in the East and has links to Blackwood (via The Sirhowy Enterprise Way) and Newport.
Between Crumlin and Pontypool the road has been laid largely upon the trackbed of the disused Taff Vale Extension railway line.
The A472 is notorious for the Maesycwmmer crawl - a 4-mile section of the road which suffers heavy congestion during rush hour.