Welsh Government accused of ‘giving up’ trying to solve Menai crossing issues
Ynys Môn MS Rhun ap Iorwerth has accused the Welsh Government of “giving up” trying to solve resilience issues with crossings over the Menai strait.
Earlier this month repair work commenced to the Menai Suspension Bridge. The bridge, which was built in 1826, was closed without notice in October last year for essential maintenance work following safety recommendations from structural engineers.
The current work on the Grade I bridge will see new permanent hangers installed, as well as extensive painting work to the exterior of the bridge.
The repairs to the bridge are not anticipated to lead to a full closure and traffic management will be implemented to reduce disruption to local residents, however work is not expected to be completed until August 2025.
Mr ap Iorwerth, the leader of Plaid Cymru, raised his concerns with the Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters in the Senedd today and accused him of “giving us nothing here that shows us that the Government is serious about making real changes for the long term”.
In response Mr Waters said: “The suggestion that we are not taking it seriously to provide a long-term solution is, believe, churlish. I think I’ve tried very hard to work with him and given a lot of time to trying to find solutions to do this. These things aren’t straightforward.”
He also assured Mr ap Iorwerth that the Burns commission which has been conducting a review into transport in the region, “will be producing an overall plan for north Wales” but added, “unfortunately, Lord Burns has had a cycling accident and has taken a knock, and so there might be a delay to the report being published.
Following the exchange, Mr ap Iorwerth said: “The complete closure of the Menai suspension bridge last year, and its partial closure for the next 18 months, clearly highlights the lack of resilience in our Menai crossings. I’m incredibly disappointed with the response so far – it feels as if the Welsh Government has given up on doing anything for the long term to help.
“As a rapid deployment interim measure, I’ve been calling for the implementation of a three-lane traffic flow system on the Britannia bridge. I’ve no doubt that improving traffic flow across the Britannia would be a step in the right direction in improving the resilience of our Menai crossings in the short term, which is why I’ve been making the case that it should be introduced at the earliest convenience.
“I’ve now been told that it would take years to implement. Where is the intention to try to get to grips with the problems that we are facing now?
“Doing nothing is not an option. Arriva have this week implemented cuts to bus services across Ynys Môn – and the lack of resilience in our Menai crossings is quoted as one reason for that decision.
“The Deputy Minister tells me that he’s keen to consider the North Wales Transport Commission’s recommendations to improve resilience in the first instance, but I fear that it doesn’t have a wide enough remit. We’re being given nothing here that shows us that the Government is serious about making real changes for the long term.”
He added: “I’m clear that the decision to scrap the third Menai crossing project needs to be looked at again, and I will continue to make that case – Ynys Môn cannot afford the risk of being isolated.”
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