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‘Llanerch Bridge could be delayed until 2026’

The Llanerch Bridge between Trefnant and Tremeirchion collapsed in 2021 (Pic: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

WORK to replace a bridge destroyed during a storm is still years away from completion, councillors fear.

Llanerch Bridge collapsed three years ago into the River Clwyd in January 2021 when Storm Christoph caused widespread regional flooding.

The bridge, linking Trefnant and Tremeirchion, is yet to be replaced, meaning residents face a seven-mile diversion when travelling between the communities.

Whilst residents must endure increased fuel bills, delivery charges for prescriptions, and inconvenience, businesses say trade is down as fewer people travel between the two communities.

The bridge was also used by drivers as a link to come off the A55 and travel to Denbigh.

In late 2022 over 100 residents protested, and in October 2023 Denbighshire County Council said it had secured funding for the bridge’s design work.

But Cllr Chris Evans said he fears work won’t start on the new bridge for another year at least, claiming the cost of the structure could exceed £9m.

Cllr Evans said residents are fed up.

“The council have given us some information, but they still haven’t given us the full spec of bridge designs,” he said.

“We feel that we aren’t any further forward.

“People are having to travel around on Bach y Griag (road). It is six or seven miles, but it is not a straight road.

“The roads are not meant for that much traffic.

“So they are in a terrible condition. You are coming up against tractors and buses. It has very narrow passing places. It is dangerous.

“It eventually brings you out on the Cherry Tree Mile, Trefnant, to Bodfari Road. The banks are falling away.

“My concern is Denbighshire’s plan is to ask the Welsh Government for £9.5m to build the bridge, 2026 when we should have some movement – if Welsh Government will fund it.

“Residents have had enough. If I go to the pubs, the Plumb Festival in Denbigh, people are saying, ‘what are you doing about the bridge? We need it back’.

“When you look at it, it is just a little bridge in a village.

“But it is not. It is a main road, and it needs to be put back.

“Deliveries are being lengthened. People are being charged for prescription deliveries, and businesses are suffering.

“The cost of fuel is more, wear and tear on the vehicles and on the roads, and time, another 10 or 15 minutes to take the kids to school.”

Cllr James Elson felt the same.

“The delays are unacceptable really. I don’t understand why things take so long. I’ve only been a councillor for 18 months, but the progress of some of these things does make you think,” he said.

“The Chinese can build a 2,000-bed hospital in a fortnight when they need to. Why is it taking three years to get to where we are?

“Given the design phase will go through and we will get the funding at the end of this year, they won’t start building the thing until next year, and we’ve been told it takes 12 months to build the bridge, which seems quite a long time for a fairly small project, so we are looking well into 2026 before we are crossing that river again, which will be five years to replace the bridge.”

He added: “The costs will only go up with inflation, so I think if they had pulled their finger out and done it a bit quicker, it might have been cheaper.”

A spokeswoman for Denbighshire County Council admitted there was not a definite timescale agreed for the bridge’s completion.

She said: “Denbighshire County Council continues to work closely with the designers to agree options for the new bridge.

“The project is complex as it requires agreement with third parties who have an important contribution to make in terms of its construction.

“Hopefully these agreements can be concluded shortly.

“It is also anticipated that ground investigation work on the site will commence within the next few weeks too.

“Funding has been given for this phase of the work by Welsh Government, but the long-term funding of the construction is still to be sought so timescales for this are not yet defined.”

A spokesman for Welsh Government added: “We have awarded £380,000 funding in 2023-24 to Denbighshire County Council for work on a new bridge across the River Clwyd, as part of our resilient roads fund.”

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