A third bridge over the Menai Strait looks set to be built.
The Welsh Government has announced its preferred for a third crossing linking Anglesey with the mainland following a consultation last year.
The so-called ‘purple’ route – chosen from one of four options – would see a new bridge being built to the east of the existing Britannia Bridge.
If it gets the go ahead, the Welsh Government says work on the new crossing could start by 2021, at the cost of an estimated £135 million. Under the proposals, it would include facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.
The chosen route was also the most popular during the three-month public consultation – a quarter of those who responded selected the third bridge as their first choice option.
Announcing the decision on one of his last visits to Anglesey as the outgoing First Minister, Carwyn Jones said: ”The A55 is important locally, nationally and internationally. It provides the main economic artery for north Wales and connects the region with the rest of Wales, the UK and Europe.”
”The Britannia Bridge is the only section of the route which is single carriageway and we know this reduction in lanes leads to congestion at peak times and during the tourist seasons.”
”Based on the appraisal undertaken on the options, the purple option performs best and would be vital in improving journey times, strengthening the A55’s resilience, and ensuring safer travel across the Menai Strait.”
”It will also provide economic benefits and ensure the route is fit for purpose as traffic volume is expected to increase over the years to come.”
Around £3 million is being spent on designing and developing the bridge – that funding formed part of a two-year deal between Labour ministers and Plaid Cymru to back the Welsh Government’s budget.
Technical advisors will now be hired to develop the inital designs for the third crossing. Transport Secretary, Ken Skates, said he fully understood the sensitivity of the project and further analysis will take place before the type of bridge is chosen.
He said: ”We have made it known for a long time of our intention to build a third Menai crossing and today’s announcement is a significant step forward in delivering exactly that.”
”The purple option provides us with an opportunity to develop a crossing which would allow people to seamlessly cross the Menai Strait and support future projects such as Wylfa Newydd.”