Temporary bridge set to open over Afon Rhyd-hir river
A temporary bridge over the Afon Rhyd-hir river on the A497 between Efailnewydd and Boduan is set to be opened next week.
The old Grade II listed Pont Bodfel bridge was closed to traffic three weeks ago because of significant structural damage.
A single-lane temporary Bailey bridge has now been installed and work to lay connecting road surface is being carried out. This means that the road can then be re-opened with a two-way traffic light system by the end of next week.
Work to make the structure of the old Pont Bodfel safe is also being carried out in parallel to this project and the process of establishing the best permanent solution to the damaged bridge is in hand.
Gwynedd Council's Highways and Municipal Cabinet Member, Councillor Gareth Griffith, said: "I’m sure that the whole local community would agree that this temporary measure is to be welcomed. It has meant a quicker re-opening of the A497, reducing the risk of a road traffic accident and allowing the emergency services to attend to calls as quickly as possible in the area.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank local residents and road-users for their continued patience since the damage was caused to the old bridge three weeks ago. Hopefully this latest development will make life much easier for local residents and businesses who have been forced to make an eight mile diversion from Boduan to Y Ffôr.
"When the damage happened on 26 January, structural engineers from the Council’s YGC department moved quickly and confirmed that it would not be possible to immediately re-open Pont Bodfel and Council staff have acted to find the best possible temporary solution. Installing a temporary bridge and connecting road surface has been a significant challenge, especially as conditions can be difficult in the winter.”
Steffan Jones, the Council’s Temporary Head of Highways and Municipal Services, added: "Initial technical assessments indicate that Pont Bodfel has suffered significant structural damage to one of the pillars, which appears to have been mainly caused by scouring damage under the bridge foundations.
"As this is a Grade Il three-span masonry bridge, which dates back to the early 19th century, repairing Pont Bodfel will be a major logistical challenge. The Council is in discussions with the local landowner, representatives from Cadw, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Welsh Government to identify the best long-term solution. The Council will need to go through a licencing process before any repair work can be undertaken at Pont Bodfel, due to flooding, pollution and habitat considerations.”
PHOTOGRAPHS: Work to install the temporary bridge