Welsh Government comes under fire over Menai Bridge closure
The Welsh Government has been criticised following the surprise closure of the Menai Bridge last Friday for safety reasons, amid claims the decision highlights its neglect for the north of Wales.
In a joint letter, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport and Technology Natasha Asghar and Tory MP Virginia Crosbie, MP for Ynys Môn called for the 200-year old bridge to be reopened as soon as possible and wrote they were “deeply shocked” to see the it shut for up to four months for essential maintenance to be carried out.
Claiming the problem “should have been anticipated” they added: “Motorists are expected to use the Britannia Bridge as an alternative, but we fear this simply will not work due to the bridge closing regularly due to high winds-delivering another blow to Anglesey’s economy.
“We firmly believe this decision further highlights the Welsh Government’s neglect for North Wales and shows there is still a major divide between the north and south.
“As huge believers in equality, this is just unacceptable.
“Last year, the Welsh Government stopped all new road building projects to conduct a review, which we are still waiting to see.
“This delay-and subsequent lack of investment in our infrastructure is having a huge detrimental impact on Anglesey and the rest of Wales.
“Anglesey needs good, reliable, transport links in order to attract new opportunities, but the island and its residents are being let down by the Welsh Government.”
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.
A spokesperson for UK Highways A55, who are responsible for the maintenance of the bridge, said: “While this issue will cause disruption, we must act in the interest of public safety.
“We are currently peer reviewing the findings that led to the recommendation of closure and assessing all available options to reopen the bridge as soon as possible so people can get back to using the bridge regularly.”
Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters added: “This urgent work is being carried out for public safety, unfortunately it is unavoidable, but we are fully aware of the implication this will have for people in the local area.
“We are working closely with UK Highways to ensure this work is carried out safely and as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to the local community.”
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