Major Bangor sea defence works gets underway
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
A multi-million scheme to safeguard one of Bangor’s oldest communities from coastal flooding is getting underway.
The sea defence scheme described as “significant,” will aim to protect the residents and businesses, around 193 properties, in lower Hirael and starts this month.
And although the public is being warned of 10 months of disruption – the scheme has been hailed as “good news” for the area. Hirael has long been blighted by flooding as many old photos of the once thriving fishing community show.
But now, with rising sea levels predicted amid climate changes, the area is thought to be even more at risk. The coastal frontage of Beach Road is made up a mixture of sea defences which are beginning to show their age.
The latest flood mitigation work has been funded by Cyngor Gwynedd and the Welsh Government which is picking up 85 percent of the costs. YGC, a public sector run consultancy, will manage the project, providing design support, whilst Griffiths Construction will carry out the work.
The council says the contract is valued £4.3m.
According to the YGC website flooding in Hirael was historically caused when high rainfall coincided with high tides.
It explained that the Afon Adda, which flows underground for four km through the centre of Bangor was originally diverted through small culverts. But when high tides occurred at the same time as the peak river flow the culverts became overwhelmed.
Athough engineering work to alleviate the flood risk from the Afon Adda were completed in 2008, flood risk from the coast still remains a problem. “With current sea level rise predictions due to climate change, the main risk to Hirael now comes from tidal flooding.” YGC states.
The Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “As we address the climate emergency, I am pleased to be providing Cyngor Gwynedd with 85% of the funding for these works through our Coastal Risk Management Programme.
“Coastal communities must adapt to rising sea levels and this scheme will help do just that, by improving the flood and coastal erosion protection to 194 properties in the Hirael area within Bangor.”
Councillor Berwyn Parry Jones, Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet Member for the Highways, Engineering and Consultancy Department, said: “This investment in flood defences is good news for the local community as both homes and businesses will be better protected for the future.
“Rising sea levels is a real problem for coastal areas like Gwynedd and I’m pleased to see this work start. As well as improving flood defences, the project aims to enhance the overall appearance of Hirael and improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.
“Both the Wales Coastal Path and the National Cycle Route pass nearby and this project provides a great opportunity to improve links to these two local assets with a new cycle track running along the edge of the Beach Road West carpark.
“The work will cause some temporary nuisance to local residents and businesses with some roads and carparks closed at times and elements of the work will be noisy at times.
“I’m very sorry about this inconvenience and I thank people in advance for their patience and wish to assure people that every effort will be made to minimise disruptions.” Temporary diversions will be in place on footpaths and cycle paths, and Glandŵr Road will be closed temporarily.
The Beach Road East car park will be closed for the duration of the project and parts of Beach Road West car park will also be closed at times.
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