Wales looks forward to a new bridge over the Menai Straits
Thomas Telford’s original Menai Suspension Bridge opened in 1826 and Robert Stephenson’s Britannia Tubular Bridge followed in 1850 to carry rail traffic in two wrought-iron rectangular box spans. After a fire in 1970, which left only the limestone pillars remaining, the bridge was rebuilt using modern steel box girders, and now carries both rail and the busy road traffic of the A55 on an upper deck.
The bridges span the Menai Strait, a narrow stretch of shallow tidal water about 25 km long, which separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland of Wales.
A third bridge across the Menai Strait has been talked about for many years and could now be back on the agenda, according to the Welsh government.
Wales’ economy and infrastructure secretary, Ken Skates, said “I have long been clear in my commitment to a third Menai crossing, and the obvious benefits it would bring to local communities and the economy. We are now developing a preferred option for a new bridge in consultation with interested parties to see what is possible. As part of this process, we continue to explore with the National Grid opportunities for a combined road and cable crossing – something that could provide added benefits to the scheme for all.”
A spokesperson for the Welsh government said “The issue of a new crossing has been raised several times in the past, and investigations and consultations with the public over proposals for a new bridge crossing to relieve congestion across Britannia Bridge have taken place. Other options to ease congestion on the Menai are also being explored. An undersea tunnel across the Menai Straits may be a better option. Consultants will be appointed to look at ways to alleviate traffic on the two bridges serving the island.”