A PROGRAMME of emergency repairs to resolve safety issues on the troubled Menai Suspension Bridge got underway today.
The work is scheduled to be complete within four weeks, depending on weather conditions.
The Welsh Government and UK Highways A55 Ltd, along with engineering firms Spencer Group and COWI, have worked together to co-develop the repair scheme.
The repair programme will begin with the installation of the emergency works to the west side of the bridge before completing the works on the eastern side.
Structural engineers had recommended that the Menai Bridge should close to all traffic to allow essential maintenance work back in October.
The sudden closure of the historic bridge, which was completed in 1826 and designed by Thomas Telford, came following testing which found problems with the bridge’s hangers.
A bespoke design and procurement strategy had to be developed quickly as the structural issues on the almost 200 year old structure had posed a risk to public safety.
While the emergency programme was being developed, additional maintenance works, including the resurfacing of the road, were brought forward to minimise future disruption for residents and businesses nearby.
While the emergency hanger works are carried out this month, the Welsh Government package of support, put together in partnership with UK Highways A55 Ltd, Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey County Council, is still available to help mitigate the impact to local businesses.
Free parking will remain available at car parks in Menai Bridge town and at the two park and share sites throughout January.
To help with the loss of bus services on the island following the closure, the council has provided additional stops closer to the Menai Suspension Bridge.
In a statement released today, the Welsh Government’s deputy minister for climate change with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters, who visited the bridge recently to unveil the package of support measures, said: “I am pleased that together with our partners, we have been able to press ahead at pace with this extremely important and complex piece of work on the Menai Suspension Bridge.
“In the meantime, the package of support to ease the transport pressures on people travelling to and from Ynys Mon remains in place and I am grateful to residents in the area for their patience as work on the Menai Suspension bridge continues.”
A spokesperson from UK Highways A55 Ltd said: “We recognise the disruption and difficult circumstances that the closure of the Menai Suspension Bridge has caused for the local community.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience while an emergency solution was developed to resolve this unprecedented issue.
“We want to thank everyone for their hard work to deliver this solution so quickly, especially the resiliency of the residents of Ynys Mon and North Wales.
“Finding a solution to this very unique problem posed a number of complex engineering challenges.
“We worked extremely closely with UK Highways, the Welsh Government, and the wider project team of engineers to fully understand the issues and constraints, to allow us to develop a solution that is safe and robust for bridge users, and the structure itself, in the fastest possible timescale.” (Picture by Dale)