Major bridge on key half-term route for many families closes with no set reopening date

A major bridge on key holiday route for families has closed with no set reopening date – just two days before the half-term break.

The immediate closure of the Menai Suspension Bridge for emergency maintenance works will result in it being out of action for several weeks.

It leaves just one route on and off Anglesey to the north Wales mainland and is expected to increase traffic on remaining crossing, the Britannia Bridge.

The closure will increase pressure and demand for a third crossing over the Menai Strait.

NorthWalesLive reports all planned road schemes in Wales are being reviewed with results expected this autumn.

Structural engineers recommended the bridge, built by Thomas Telford in 1826, should close to all traffic, including pedestrians.

The announcement was made following recent testing of the bridges existing hangers.

As part of UK Highways A55 ongoing maintenance of the Menai Bridge, it was identified that further testing would need to be carried out on the Menai Bridge alongside the replacement of some of the hangers.

As a result of further investigation, serious risks have been identified and structural engineers have recommended to close Menai Bridge to all traffic.

The findings that led to the recommendation to close the bridge are currently being reviewed which could take up to two weeks.

Available options to reopen the bridge as soon as possible are being actively assessed.

Temporary hanger strengthening works may need to be installed to ensure the safety and integrity of the Menai Bridge. This programme could take between 14-16 weeks, with the bridge reopening in early 2023.

In the meantime, traffic will be diverted to the Britannia Bridge.

Plans have been discussed with partners including Welsh Government, UK Highways A55, NMWTRA, Emergency Services and the local authorities.

The Welsh Government is developing further strategies to increase resilience on the Britannia Bridge to mitigate the risk of both bridges being closed in exceptional circumstances. In the last five years, the bridge has been closed to high-sided vehicles on average seven times a year.

A spokesperson for UK Highways A55 said: “We have received a recommendation from structural engineers to close the bridge for safety reasons.

“We have passed on this recommendation to the Welsh Government and are working closely with them to ensure the safety and integrity of the Menai Bridge is maintained.

“While this issue will cause disruption, we must act in the interest of public safety.

“We are currently peer reviewing the findings that led to the recommendation of closure and assessing all available options to reopen the bridge as soon as possible so people can get back to using the bridge regularly.”

Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for transport, said: “This urgent work is being carried out for public safety, unfortunately it is unavoidable, but we are fully aware of the implication this will have for people in the local area.

“We are working closely with UK Highways to ensure this work is carried out safely and as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to the local community.”