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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 September 2006, 08:48 GMT 09:48 UK
Call to build town by-pass sooner
Congestion in Porthmadog town centre causes concerns
Calls have been made to bring forward the construction of a by-pass for Porthmadog to avoid traffic chaos when a new rail crossing is built.

Town Council chair Selwyn Griffiths said the situation was "critical" and would get worse when a railway crossing opens on the High Street in 2009.

Ffestiniog Railway said it backed any plan to construct the bypass earlier.

The route for the by pass was announced in August, and the work is not due to start until 2010 at the earliest.

"The bypass has been on the cards for about 15 years and following a public exhibition the route was finally agreed over the summer," said Mr Griffiths.

It's going to cause even more congestion, and it's bad enough as it is
Selwyn Griffiths, Porthmadog Town Council

"I'm pleased we're getting the bypass. The start date we've been given, however, is 2010.

"I want it done before then because of the train crossing being built in the town.

"I have no quarrel with the railway company. They have permission for the crossing, but if there are traffic lights every time a train crosses the High Street it's going to cause even more congestion, and it's bad enough as it is," Mr Griffiths added.

The crossing - the final phase of the scheme to run the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Porthmadog - is due to open in 2009.

Porthmadog by-pass
The by-pass route has been welcomed
Paul Lewin, general manager of the Ffestiniog Railway Company which is behind the Welsh Highland scheme, said the company supported the call for the by-pass to be built at an earlier date.

"We're definitely of the view that the by-pass should come sooner rather than later," said Mr Lewin.

Mr Lewin confirmed the new crossing would feature traffic lights to stop cars each time a train passed, but the opening of the railway line from Caernarfon could encourage people to travel into the town by train rather than driving, he said.

"We don't say that everyone will join the train in Caernarfon or Blaenau but we are trying to help a bit by encouraging people to use the train to get to Porthmadog instead of their cars," he added.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said no-one was available to comment on the call for the start date of work on the bypass to be moved forward.

Whilst announcing the route of the bypass in August Enterprise, Innovation and Networks Minister Andrew Davies acknowledged the problems faced by residents.

"I am aware that the A487 through Porthmadog is congested, especially during summer months, and that a by-pass will improve matters for both motorists and local people alike," he said.

'Bat' bypass route goes on show
25 Jan 06 |  North West Wales
Steamed up over railway station
07 Nov 05 |  North West Wales

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