Rethink urged over Dyfi bridge plans
The Welsh Government has been urged to reconsider its plan for a new £30 million crossing of the River Dyfi, which has been described as a “monumental waste of money” in its current form.
The existing 200-year-old narrow bridge frequently closes due to flooding and crashes, often causing misery for motorists by way of a 30-mile diversion.
But despite the Welsh Government’s insistence that a new bridge will “significantly improve resilience” and transport links between Powys and south Gwynedd, one Meirionnydd councillor is urging decision makers to think again.
Under the Welsh Government’s proposals, while the Grade II listed Pont ar Ddyfi would remain in place, a new bridge would cross the River Dyfi to the north and form a new section of the A487.
A final decision is expected later this year but Councillor Mike Stevens is calling for a “full independent review", concerned that the bridge plans “ignore” height restrictions and the problem of traffic congestion in Machynlleth.
This is despite a response from the transport minister, Ken Skates, noting that “on balance” it was felt “there was a greater local preference” for not bypassing the town and its local facilities completely.
“What is needed is for the new bridge route to bypass Machynlleth from the A487 northern approach, loop around the west of the town to meet up south of the town on the A487 Aberystwyth road,” Cllr Stevens said.
“This option would also bring great benefit to hundreds of people in south Meirionnydd, for many of whom this is their only route to vital hospital services in Aberystwyth and are often caused great delays when the current bridge is closed through flooding or damage being hit by oversized lorries.”
The member for Tywyn added that such a partial bypass of Machynlleth would also bring “great benefit” to locals as the current congestion blackspot at the clock tower junction would be completely eradicated thanks to the introduction of a roundabout.
He concluded, “The current route is estimated at £35m however the northern bypass would only cost in the region of £48m, an additional £13m.
“An additional £13m to bring so much benefit to so many people for the next 200 years is a pittance of a price to pay.”
In response, a Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The new Dyfi bridge scheme will significantly improve the resilience of the network during times of flooding and improve safety.
“It will also help ensure Machynlleth remains a vibrant town and that the historic Grade II listed original bridge can remain in place.
“We have consulted closely with land owners, Gwynedd Council, Powys Council, Network Rail, statutory bodies and the public on plans for a new section of the A487 north of Machynlleth, including a new bridge across the River Dyfi.
“Options to bypass Machynlleth have also been considered and the Minister for Economy and Transport will be in a position to make a decision on the scheme proposals by the end of the year”