Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Third Menai Bridge crossing more than ‘just a transport issue’

02 Mar 2024 4 minute read
the Menai Suspension Bridge (foreground) and Britannia bridge

Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter

Cardiff politicians have been accused of failing to understand the challenges faced over a proposed third Menai Strait crossing.

Speaking at an extraordinary meeting of its executive on Thursday last week,  Anglesey council leader Cllr Llinos Medi stated it was more than “just a transport issue.”

“The island can be cut off from health and emergency services, people from work-places, education establishments, and it can creates challenges and threats to safety and life,” she said.

The comments came as the executive discussed its report “improving the reliability and the resilience’ across the Menai Strait”.

Disappointment

In a response to the North Wales Transport Commission report looking at transportation issues across Wales including another Menai crossing. Councillor Medi said our report “expresses our disappointment” the commission’s proposals “do not get to grips with the challenges that exist locally,” she said.

There was not enough “understanding of the true concerns about the resilience of links to the mainland,” she said. “The discussion has always been about the third bridge, that we need it because we don’t like waiting in traffic in the morning and evening but that is not the true concern.”

The meeting discussed the difficulties encountered by patients, staff and emergency services unable to reach Ysbyty Gwynedd during closures of the Britannia and Menai Suspension bridges during accidents or high winds.

Ignored

Deputy leader Cllr Robin Wyn Williams, said in one incident access over the Britannia Bridge had been prevented for up to 24 hours. He said: “We have had a number of situations where fatal accidents have happened… facts that the government have just ignored, totally.”

The meeting also raised issues over the future resilience of the 175 year old Britannia Bridge and 200 year old Menai Suspension Bridge – originally built for horses and carts, not heavy lorries and vehicles. And the potential for impact on the local economy by businesses off coming to the area and Freeport were also raised.

It was agreed that the chief executive would write to Welsh Government “appealing that they change their policy position on the Menai Strait crossing and recognise the need to resolve the inadequacies and lack of resilience that exists”.

The council’s report would also be shared with regional Senedd Cymru members, partners and stakeholders.

Report author Tudor H Jones said: “We’re disappointed with the commission and feel the recommendations won’t solve the problems.

“We encourage the Welsh Government to look again at it”

Essential 

Cllr Dafydd Rhys portfolio holder for highways added: “A new bridge is essential for Anglesey residents to live their lives, but also for the economy, tourism, visitors businesses, and the Freeport.

” Holyhead is the second busiest port in the UK and it is important for any other potential future developments such as Wylfa. I don’t think the government in Cardiff understands our situation here, the importance of a third crossing, a bridge, a tunnel something to connect us to the mainland.”

Cllr Carwyn Jones said: “I truly hope the Welsh Government will take note of the report, not just put it in file 13, but pay attention and do something…we are vulnerable.”

Cllr Medi said: “The challenge we have is that we can’t get them to understand our message. If there was any other area of Wales where there was concern for 70,000 people there would an emergency plan, a process, forward planning, thought behind it.”

“I am not sure why our message is unclear perhaps they don’t understand connectivity in rural areas.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are committed to improving the resilience of the Menai crossings. We support the North Wales Transport Commission’s recommendations, and we will be procuring detailed feasibility work on the first six it has identified as a priority. These focus on reducing closures of the Britannia Bridge.

“Other measures to be investigated include wind deflectors, variable speed limits and layout changes to the mainline across the bridge.


Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
12 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

Cardiff politicians don’t give a hoot about the rest of Cymru…

But if there is a free trip to India or somewhere far from our country…

Just look at the smile on the usually miserable face of the Baroness in India…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Her body language screams begrudging entitlement, a Mrs Bumble…

The whole Labour government wears it like some twenty-five year old pub-patina, take Cro-magnon man, he thinks he’s born to it like Prince Carlo…Lets not stop with Gething, there’s two years to go, is there a mechanism to insist it is put to the public, while they still have a say because our politics is as polluted as our rivers it seems to me…

jim
jim
1 month ago

This illustrates a more general problem with the current approach to transport policy. There is a failure to see transport as an enabler of economic and social activity, seeing it instead as only something with negative effects and therefore to be minimised (except for active travel – but in Wales this can only ever account for a very small share of the total).

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  jim

Active Travel define it please…

jim
jim
1 month ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

No – it’s an established term. If one had to continually define established terms one could never say anything.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago

For family reasons I cross the Straits weekly and it has become obvious to me that Ynys Mon is being held to ransom, exploited and denied the right to connect in various ways with the mainland including very real and daily life and death incidents. Too much power is invested in De Cymru to the detriment of the rest of us…

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

Has there ever been any thought of a tunnel under the Menai strait?

Ap Kenneth
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

If the Faroe Islands can build multiple undersea tunnels, some nearly 7 miles long, linking in some cases populations of hundreds not thousands then the Menai straights should be relatively easy. The problem is funding and tolls would not be popular, but do not over engineer and keep it to a low speed two way single carriageway. An even cheaper option would be a number of passenger ferries to give people options at both ends of the strait. But as buses seem impossible to fund then until the London Treasury changes it austerity mindset then even the simple options will… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

German and Italian PoWs maybe…

Bill
Bill
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Davies

The straits are a fault line which separated Anglesey from Gwynedd. Gather there are risks.

Ap Kenneth
1 month ago

Passenger traffic through Holyhead 2.4 million in 2001, 1.5 million 2022 probably due to cheap flights. Freight traffic through Holyhead down 30% after Brexit. Pressure on the bridges is reduced. Does the island need more options, yes – ferries, tunnels ie as in Faroes for local connection, as at some point the Brittania will need major work that will at a minimum restrict traffic.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 month ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

There will be a need to airlift serious medical emergencies to YG over the Straits at any time in the future…small minds running a small country…

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.