Gwynedd aims to build new bridge over Afon Rhyd-hir
Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet has given its backing to a bid for £1.2 million of funding to build a new bridge over Afon Rhyd-hir on the A497 at Boduan. The matter will now be considered by the full Council on 5 March, with a planning application expected to be submitted in the near future.
Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Municipal, Councillor Catrin Wager said: “I’m delighted to see us developing this very important project for a new bridge to span the Afon Rhyd-hir river on the main road between Pwllheli and Nefyn. This is an important strategic route for the people who live and work in this part of Gwynedd.
“The closure of Pont Bodfel was obviously not something that the Council had planned for. However, the period has allowed us to consider an improved route for motorists over Afon Rhyd-hir, something local people have been eager to see for a number of years.
“I look forward to seeing plans for the new and improved bridge.”
Work is progressing well on repairing the old Grade II listed bridge on the A497 and it is expected that it will re-open to the public by June. In the meantime, motorists are able to use the temporary bridge that the Council has in place.
The old Grade II listed Pont Bodfel bridge was closed to traffic at the end of January 2019 because of significant structural damage. The Council installed a temporary bridge over the Afon Rhyd-hir river on the A497 shortly afterwards and this remains in place.
Steffan Jones, Head of Gwynedd Council’s Highways and Municipal Department added: “Pont Bodfel suffered significant structural damage caused by scouring damage under the bridge foundations. As it is a Grade Il three-span masonry bridge dating back to the early 19th century, repairing it has been a major logistical challenge.
"Afon Rhyd Hir is a main river and of significant environmental interest, partly due to the quality of the water. This means that work cannot be carried out during fish spawning season and we have planned our work around this important consideration. Once the current fish spawning season comes to end, we will be able to re-start repair work towards the beginning of April, and hope to see the repaired bridge open to traffic by June.
“As Pont Bodfel is a narrow one-lane bridge, we looked into whether it would have been possible to widen the structure as part of the maintenance work. However, after discussions with Cadw and conservation officers, it became apparent that this would not be possible. We have therefore decided to proceed with plans for a new 17 metre concrete arch bridge with a 3 metre rise over Afon Rhyd-hir.
“The Council is currently considering options in terms of the exact location of the new bridge and expect to submit a planning application in the near future.”
Should the full Council support the bid for funding and planning application be secured, the Council aims for the new bridge over Afon Rhyd-hir to be open before the summer of 2021.