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Controversial bypass is approved

10 June 09 12:16 GMT

A £50m by-pass to ease congestion around a Gwynedd town has been given the go-ahead.

The new section of the A487 will bypass Porthmadog, and was approved by Wales' transport minister Ieuan Wyn Jones.

The decision followed a public inquiry in December where, despite objections, the inspector recommended the bypass for approval.

Some residents fear the road's route will make it a "visual eyesore". Work is due to start in 2010.

The new road will not only take traffic away from Porthmadog but also the villages of Tremadog and Minfordd.

Mr Jones said the road was a key route for travelling between north and south Wales and could become very congested in the summer months.

"A solution to these problems has been needed for some time and the situation will only get worse if nothing is done," he said.

"This bypass is also good news for the local economy and the regeneration of the wider area. And this investment is another example of our One Wales commitment to improving transport links in Wales and cutting carbon emissions by reducing congestion."

The new Welsh Highland Railway is expected to increase levels of congestion as traffic on the A487 in Porthmadog will have to stop for the railway crossing.

Local resident Malcolm Crocker said he was not opposed to the bypass but said its route on an embankment that will go over the Welsh Highland Railway will impact on views in the town.

"Taking the road under the railway would have been a better solution, but the Welsh Assembly Government have gone for the cheaper option," he said.

"It will disfigure the landscape.

"We are going to end up with this as a visual eyesore for years to come. It's a shame a short term view has been taken on this."

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