Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters visited the Menai Suspension Bridge on Wednesday, to unveil a package of support to ease the transport pressures on people travelling to and from Anglesey.
The Deputy Minister, who has responsibility for transport, will also meet with representatives from Gwynedd and Anglesey councils to discuss the important maintenance works.
The new package put together in partnership with UK Highways A55 Ltd and Anglesey and Gwynedd County Councils, includes an extensive range of measures, including free parking, traffic flow solutions, access to active travel routes and additional bus stops to support people affected by the bridge closure.
From 1 December free parking will be available at car parks in Menai Bridge town and at the two park and share sites throughout December and January. This practical support measure has been put in place to assist local businesses dependent on Christmas trade, help reduce the numbers of vehicles wishing to cross the A55 Britannia Bridge and ease commuting times for those seeking to travel to and from Anglesey. These steps have been taken in addition to other signage measures that are currently in place.
To assist with the loss of bus services on the island following the closure of the bridge, the council has provided additional stops closer to the Menai Suspension Bridge to allow the general public to travel by bus and walk across the bridge instead of being potentially held-up in traffic on the A55. They are also using their community transport to help the more rural communities affected by the bridge closure.
Local Authorities are also considering active travel routes to allow cyclists to use ‘hire bikes’ to potentially be used in Menai Bridge and Bangor.
An emergency services contingency plan to utilise Menai Suspension Bridge when the A55 Britannia Bridge is closed has been developed and the gates on the Menai Suspension Bridge to allow emergency access across the structure during very extreme events were installed last week.
Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said:
“We understand people’s frustrations and the inconvenience and disruption caused to the local community.
“We have been working closely with UK Highways A55 Ltd and local authorities to introduce these measures to help alleviate people’s concerns and ensure disruption is kept to a minimum as essential work continues on the Menai Suspension Bridge.”
Anglesey Council’s Leader, Councillor Llinos Medi, said,
“We are pleased to see these support measures introduced today. Since the closure of the Menai Suspension Bridge, we have been strongly advocating for support to be provided to local businesses.
“The Menai Suspension Bridge is a vital gateway to and from the town centre. We are hopeful these set of measures will go some way to help support local businesses that have reported a fall in trade since the closure of the bridge.
“We are currently analysing the results from a recent online survey shared with local businesses. This work will enable us to continue dialogue with Welsh Government in respect of further support, if needed, throughout the closure period. Menai Bridge is very much open for business, and I encourage residents and visitors to visit the town and support local businesses in the area.”