Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
Plans to install a series of crisis phones on a bridge linking Anglesey and the mainland have been approved by council planners ahead of a separate six month maintenance project on the Grade I listed structure.
Major works on the Menai Suspension Bridge are set to kick off in mid-January and last for almost six months, resulting in lane closures as well as the repainting of sections of the 1826-opened structure.
Meanwhile, separate plans for the installation of eight phones both on and the approaches to the bridge, each offering a direct free of charge line to the Samaritans, have been approved after the site was earmarked as part of the multi-agency North Wales Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Strategic Plan.
With sections of the footway on both sides of the bridge requiring replacement as well as the repainting of some sections, the major project – set to begin in mid January and last for approximately 23 weeks – will mean that traffic will be reduced to just one lane on weekdays between 9am and 3pm by way of two way traffic signals.
While Ymgynghoriaeth Gwynedd Consultancy (YGC) has confirmed that no weekend works are scheduled, it is likely there may be some 20 minute overnight closures needed to shot blast paint in certain locations.
Meanwhile, separate plans for the installation of eight phones is a suggested part of a wider action plan which also includes physical barriers, with a series of signs having already been placed.
This is ahead of further planned works, as described in the application, to install “dissuasive barriers”, which is hoped could itself make it more difficult for people to put themselves in danger.
Having been awarded listed building consent by Gwynedd Council’s planning department – which falls under its responsibility as a trunk road – it follows consultation with other relevant bodies including Menai Bridge Town Council with the number of telephones having been reduced from the original plans for 14.
The statement accompanying the application by the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency, notes: “By placing telephones at each approach of the bridge, it is hoped that the opportunity for individuals to receive support from the Samaritans before reaching the areas of the bridge where incidents typically occur will act as a deterrent.
“While the proposed scheme has the potential to impact upon the significance of the Grade I listed asset, the permanence of the telephones will be reviewed after the completion of dissuasive barriers on the Bridge.”
If you are concerned about someone, or need help yourself, please contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
For more details on the maintenance works, visit: www.facebook.com/Gwaith-Cynnal-a-Chadw-Pont-Borth-Menai-Suspension-Bridge-Maintenance-Works-101934785096036