Geology society invited to study rocks around major bypass project21st Jan 2020

The joint venture delivering a major bypass project has welcomed a geology group to embark on a “unique” study opportunity.

Balfour Beatty and Jones Bros Civil Engineering UK invited a delegation from the North Wales Geology Association to the site of the Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass to examine rock and soil exposures encountered on the route.

The bypass will create a new 9.8km carriageway from the Goat roundabout on the A499/A487 to the Plas Menai roundabout, realigning the A487 to ease congestion, improve journey times, and support the North West Wales economy.

Jonathan Wilkins, chairman of the North Wales Geology Association, said the group were keen to visit a location previously relatively undocumented geologically.

He said: “We usually visit famous and fascinating locations in North Wales but jobs like the Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass provide an absolutely unique opportunity to see things that have never been looked at before.

“The geology of North Wales has been studied for more than 200 years but that has generally involved climbing over rocks that have been exposed to the surface or studying records that might only contain a tiny fraction of the work done previously.

“On this visit, we were keen to find out what constituted the geology of the area around the job and we hope to pay another visit before it is completed.

“Studying rock exposures along the site can give us a greater understanding and define the environment of the time, giving it local context.”

Jonathan praised the joint venture for taking the time to welcome the society onto the busy working site.

He added: “Balfour Beatty Jones Bros were absolutely brilliant; they were very helpful and in fact they were happy to have us on site. They were very accommodating, and we’ve expressed our gratitude.”

The joint venture was contacted by engineering geologists from WSP to arrange the visit on site.

Elgan Ellis, roadworks lead for the project, said the visit provided the company with the opportunity to gain further knowledge about the site on which they were working.

He said: “The geologists were able to visit the north end of the site where the main rock cutting is located, and where over 1Million tonnes of rock and soil are to be excavated. I understand they were all very interested in seeing the different minerals located in that area.

“We try to work with local groups and it’s good to invite this particular society as it is interesting to understand more about the history and formation of the land we are working.”

Work on the bypass is the largest highway scheme in North Wales and is scheduled for completion in early 2022.