The Menai Bridge between mainland Wales and Anglesey has been closed to all traffic to allow essential maintenance work to take place.
The announcement was made following recent testing of the bridge’s 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 alongside the replacement of some of the hangers.
Engineers have identified serious risks and structural engineers have recommended the closure, with the bridge shut for at least two weeks while findings are reviewed. The Welsh Government says 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 to 16 weeks, with the bridge reopening in early 2023.
In the meantime, traffic will be diverted to the nearby Britannia Bridge. The Welsh Government says it 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.”
Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters added: “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.”
(Picture – Yay Images)