Work gets underway on new bridge over Afon Rhyd-hir
Work is getting underway this week on the preparatory work to build a new bridge over Afon Rhyd-hir on the A497 at Boduan.
Planning permission was granted last year for the new single-span 17 metre concrete arch bridge. The structure set to be clad with locally sourced masonry will sit to the south of the existing Pont Bodfel.
The development will also incorporate the realignment of the approach road to the bridge, as well as improvements to the nearby Gefail y Bont junction towards Llannor to merge safely with the new route.
Steffan Jones, Head of Gwynedd Council’s Highways and Municipal Department said:
“We are very pleased that work is now starting on the new bridge to span the Afon Rhyd-hir river on the main road between Pwllheli and Nefyn. The A497 is an important strategic route for the people who live and work in this part of Gwynedd.
“The temporary closure of Pont Bodfel was not something that had been planned. However, it has offered us the opportunity to restore and safeguard the historic bridge and to develop plans for its use as a recreational route so that it will remain an important structure for years to come for walkers and cyclists.
“By investing in a new bridge we will be improving the traffic flow in what is a very busy route for local people as they travel to and from work.
“Of course, with the National Eisteddfod due to be located nearby in less than two years, the new bridge will also play an important part of travel plans for those planning to visit the Maes in 2023.”
The Pont Bodfel bridge was shut in January 2019 due to scouring damage under the foundations. A temporary ‘Bailey’ road bridge has been in place with traffic measures in the meantime so that vehicles have been able to travel along the A497 without the need for a long diversion. Work to repair the historical Pont Bodfel was completed last year.
Steffan Jones added: “We are grateful to everyone who has contributed to the plans for the new bridge. Pont Bodfel suffered significant structural damage caused by scouring damage under the bridge foundations.
“We did consider whether it would be possible to widen the bridge to ensure that it meets the needs of today’s traffic network. However, after discussions with Cadw and conservation officers, it became apparent that this would not be possible.
“Work is now getting underway on the new 17 metre concrete arch bridge with a 3 metre rise to match the height of the existing Pont Bodfel. Should everything go as planned, we expect that the new bridge will be open by the beginning of the summer 2023.”
PHOTOGRAPH: The design of the new bridge