Work has started on the long-awaited Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass.
Transport Minister Ken Skates cut the first sod at the Cibyn Industrial Estate on Thursday to officially mark the start of construction on the new £135 million road.
The six-mile bypass, running from the A499/A487 junction to the Plas Menai roundabout, is expected to be completed by Autumn 2021 – it will be situated around Llanwnda, Dinas, Bontnewydd and Caernarfon.
Mr Skates, the Clwyd South AM who was named the first ever Minister for North Wales last month, described the new road as a ”real step change” for how people travel in the North West.
He said: ”This means journeys for motorists will be quicker and more reliable, and traffic congestion on local routes will reduced leading to improved active travel opportunities on which we are working with Sustrans and Gwynedd Council.”
”This scheme can have a real positive impact on the area, both in the construction phase by providing local employment and training opportunities and after completion through improved connectivity for communities and better air quality. It will also be vital in delivering better links to tourist destinations.”
The Welsh Government finally gave the go ahead for the bypass last May following years of delays.
Work was meant to start two years ago – but it was held back by a public inquiry. Further delays followed when ministers announced they needed more time to consider the inquiry’s findings. Those delays led to a protest by around 60 people in Bontnewydd, shortly before the decision to go ahead.
Clearing work and fencing will take place before the main groundworks begin – with trainees, apprentices and gradudates among those working on construction.
Balfour Beatty and Ruthin-based Jones Bros are building the bypass, with the Government stressing it would concentrate spending on materials and sub-contracts locally.
Mr Skates added: ”Alongside our plans for a third Menai crossing, the Abergwyngregyn to Tai’r Meibion improvement scheme and proposals to remove the roundabouts at Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr on the A55, the construction of the Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass is another fantastic example of how we, as a government, are investing significantly in delivering for the region.”
The minister’s visit to the region coincided with the suspension of the Wylfa Newydd project. He went onto meet Anglesey Council leader Llinos Medi in Llangefni to discuss Hitachi’s decision.