BBC News
Launch consoleBBC News in video and audio
Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 10:16 GMT
Anglesey bridge options reviewed
Britannia bridge
The A55 across the bridge has seen traffic increase 21% in five years
A new bridge linking Anglesey with the mainland is one of the options considered in a new study.

Engineers have been asked to come up with ways of tackling traffic problems across the Britannia Bridge, which carries the A55 over the Menai Strait.

Other options include increasing the number of lanes on the bridge, which was built by Robert Stephenson and opened in 1850.

The bridge has seen a 21% increase in traffic since 2002.

Consultant engineers were asked to draw up proposals for improving the bridge on behalf of the Welsh Assembly Government.

The bridge provided a second crossing onto the island, originally for trains only. In 1970, the structure was devastated by a fire, and when it was repaired a road platform was added to the bridge.

Delays are likely to worsen, which will have an increasing effect on Anglesey's economy
Anglesey Council

The A55 across the water now forms part of the designated Euroroute 22 from Dublin to Sweden, carrying all the heavy goods traffic from the port at Holyhead.

But it is also the only section of the route that is not a dual carriageway.

"The severe congestion problems posed by Britannia Bridge are well-documented and the delays are likely to worsen, which will have an increasing effect on Anglesey's economy," said a spokesperson for Anglesey county council.

"A feasibility study, looking at number of options which could help solve this problem, will form part of a public consultation to be held over the coming weeks."

Engineers have put forward eight separate options for the future of the crossing.

Three ideas put forward would see the highly contentious move of demolishing the stone towers that dominate the bridge.

One suggestion, originally drawn up by the council, would see the steel arches supporting the crossing extended into the straits, providing a four lane highway.

The final two proposals in the study involve building brand new crossings spanning the Menai Strait.

As yet, no costing for any of the schemes have been drawn up.

Traffic management

However, Emlyn Parry Williams, from the Menai Bridge Civic Society, disputes whether a new crossing or more lanes are needed.

He wants to see the flow of traffic onto the island changed at peak times.

"If the powers that be followed the example that was set up in the management of traffic on the M25 they would find that electronic tidal management would increase by 150 to 200% the capacity of the roadway to handle traffic," he insisted.

The proposal is one of the options put forward by engineers, but could mean restrictions for heavy lorries and tighter speed limits.

But if there needs to be structural changes to the bridge, Mr Parry Williams said he favoured the ideas put forward by the council.

"Being forced to make a decision regarding the physical extension of the bridge, two outrigged roads on the outside of the bridge would be ultimately the best solution," he added.

The report will be discussed by Anglesey councillors on Thursday, before being put out for wider consultation with the public.

Frustrated drivers talk about the traffic chaos

Bridge museum plan a step closer
06 Feb 07 |  North West Wales
Extra lane plan for island bridge
09 Nov 05 |  North West Wales


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific