New Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass to finally open on Friday
A long-awaited bypass that will allow drivers to avoid going through Caernarfon and Bontnewydd will open on Friday.
The bypass was given the green light on the basis that it would make it easier to travel between Llyn Peninsula, Porthmadog, Bangor and the A55, and reduce noise and air pollution for people in Bontnewydd and Caernarfon who live along the A487.
The local Member of the Senedd and Member of Parliament, Siân Gwenllian and Hywel Williams, have welcomed the announcement.
“Finally, we will see the new road opening making journeys in the area more pleasant and vastly improving the lives of the people of Bontnewydd and Caernarfon who have campagined hard to get this project realised,” Siân Gwenllian said.
“The air will be cleaner, there will be less pollution, the streets will be quieter and the long summer traffic queues will soon become part of the past. Roads will be more pedestrian and cyclists friendly also.
“The scheme has been subject to delays and Hywel Williams MP and I supported local residents to ensure that the new road wasn’ton the back burner. We joined campaigners in Bontnewydd and I raised the matter in the Senedd on numerous occasions to ensure progress.”
The road which is due to open in early 2022 was estimated to cost £113m in 2015, but the price had risen to £135m by the time work got underway.
The Balfour Beatty and Jones Bros constructed road will run from the Goat roundabout on the A499-A487 junction to the Plas Menai roundabout near Y Felinheli.
In doing so it will bypass Llanwnda, Dinas, Bontnewydd and Caernarfon. There will be a speed limit of 60mph on the main road and 40mph at roundabouts.
“Today will be met with relief by the people of Bontnewydd who have for far too long, endured the daily scourge of traffic congestion and miles upon miles of tailbacks causing gridlock, especially during the busy summer months,” Hywel Williams said.
“Our constituents have waited long enough for this bypass to open, enduring repeated setbacks, increased congestion and at times, a wall of silence from Welsh government.
“Without the determination of local campaigners and sustained political pressure from Plaid Cymru for many years, delivery of this project would have undoubtedly been subjected to further delays.
“The new bypass will be a huge boost to both our national and local economies and will further help economic recovery post-Covid. This project will strengthen our infrastructure, bringing long-term social benefits to our local communities.
“I’d like to pay tribute to Jones Bros and to all local contractors, workers and stakeholders involved in delivering this £139m investment, which has provided hundreds of local jobs and many apprenticeships during the construction phase.”
One bone of contention is what will happen to the flyover that passes through the centre of Caernarfon once the bypass is complete.
The controversial £4m structure was built in the 1970s as part of the yr A487 trunk road and prompted much opposition at the time as it involved the destruction of 98 buildings including a primary school and the town library.
However, as soon as the Welsh Government finished construction of the Caernarfon bypass, which should ensure that most traffic from Bangor to the Llŷn Peninsula and mid-west Wales does not pass directly through the town, care of the flyover will soon be transferred to the council.
In October Gwynedd Council started a public consultation on whether people wanted the flyover to remain or not. The consultation closed on 1 November.
One plan is to take the bypass built in the 1970s down while another is to use it as a green public footpath.
“The inner relief road suffers from a number of defects and the road surface and is nearing its residual life and will require resurfacing in the near future,” the consultation stated.
“Options are being considered for the future use of the flyover, once the new by-pass has been constructed.”
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My weekly pilgrimage will be easier but for the people of Llanbedr this must hurt…