Menai Bridge closure a ‘wake-up call’ for third crossing, say Welsh engineers
The disruption caused by the closure of the Menai Bridge is a “wake-up call” to the Welsh Government for a third crossing, a Welsh engineering group has said.
As residents, commuters and commerce battle with diversions caused by the closure of the Menai Bridge, a Welsh engineering group has called for a third Menai Straits crossing.
The Welsh Government has been criticised following the surprise closure of the Menai Bridge last month for safety reasons, amid claims the decision highlights its neglect for the north of Wales.
The closure of the bridge which is used by nearly 50,000 vehicles a day comes after engineers recommended the bridge should close to all traffic, including pedestrians and cyclists after serious risks were identified following a recent inspection.
Maintenance work is set to take between 14-16 weeks, with the bridge expected to reopen in early 2023.
Menai Bridge businesses have called for urgent support following the sudden closure of the town’s suspension bridge which is having a “devastating” impact on some traders.
Keith Jones, director of the Institution of Civil Engineers in Wales (ICE Wales Cymru) said that, with the hangers supporting the bridge deck compromised, there could potentially have been a “progressive collapse” and a “potential disaster”.
He said the bridge closure was the right decision, but its closure was a “wake-up call,” highlighting the need for a third crossing.
“The Welsh Government was right to commission the analysis of the bridge which has uncovered this issue. They have also taken the right decision in implementing a safety-first approach by closing the bridge despite the public backlash over the disruption.
“However, this must be the wake-up call for Welsh Government. We have been talking about a third crossing for a long time and now decisions need to be made. We do not want to be here in 10 years having the same conversation when something else – or more serious – happens.”
ICE Wales Cymru is calling for the project -which will take several years – to start without delay.
Keith Jones added: “As a nation we must continue investment in infrastructure because clearly there is a lack of resilience in the transport network in North Wales.
“There is a proven link between the condition of the infrastructure of a country (Wales) and its economy. For every pound invested in infrastructure it generates £2.85 of benefits to the economy.”
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