Plans for new £1.2m Afon Rhyd-hir bridge

Gwynedd Council

Plans for a new £1.2 million bridge on the A497 are set to move a step closer.

The 19th century Pont Bodfel has been closed since January last year because of significant structural damage. A temporary bridge was installed shortly afterwards.

Gwynedd councillors have already backed a bid for funding to build a new structure over the Afon Rhyd-hir river linking Efailnewydd and Boduan.

A final decision is expected when the county council meets next week before a planning application is submitted. If given the go ahead, the new bridge could be opened by the summer of 2021.

Councillor Catrin Wager, the cabinet member for highways, said it was an important strategic route for local residents travelling between Pwllheli and Nefyn.

She added: ”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.”

Work is continuing on repairing the old Grade II listed bridge, which is due to reopen by June.

Steffan Jones, head of the council’s highways department, said repairing the damage to Pont Bodfel, caused by scouring damage under its foundations, was a major logistical challenge.

He said: ”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.”

The plans for the new bridge will be discussed when the council meets in Caernarfon on Thursday 5th March.

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