The joint venture delivering the Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass has reached a major milestone as steel erection gets underway on the bridge decks of the two viaducts which are a key part of the scheme
The site team from Balfour Beatty and Jones Bros have continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with strict control measures in place to protect the workforce.
The Welsh Government is investing £135m in the scheme which is one of the largest infrastructure projects currently underway in North Wales. The 9.8km bypass will run from the Goat roundabout on the A499/A487 junction to the Plas Menai roundabout around Llanwnda, Dinas, Bontnewydd and Caernarfon.
The scheme will deliver improved travel times, reduce congestion and improve air quality on local roads, and lead to more opportunities for active travel.
As part of this major project two viaducts are being built, with one spanning the Afon Gwyrfai to the west of Bontnewydd and the other crossing the Afon Seiont. Over the past few weeks steel beams have been delivered to the site and construction of the viaduct decks is now underway.
The Afon Gwyrfai viaduct will be 6m above the flood plain and 260m in length whilst the Afon Seiont viaduct will run 21m above the river and is 148m in length.
These bridges are due to be completed in August 2021.
The construction of the bypass is also bringing economic benefits to the region with 93 per cent of the workforce from North Wales. Local suppliers have benefited from the contract having received 85 per cent of the material orders. In addition, 32 graduates, interns and apprentices are being employed on the project, gaining valuable experience.
Minister for Transport and North Wales Ken Skates said: “I am pleased to see the progress on the Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass, which is a major project in North West Wales. When complete it will deliver a real difference to the local community, removing congestion and improving air quality.
“The construction team are now moving on to one of the major milestones of the project as construction on the two viaduct bridge decks begins. I look forward to hearing more about the progress on this which is one of the largest infrastructure projects underway in the region.
“We must also remember that it is not only the finished product which will make a difference. Throughout the construction phase there are benefits for the local community through the supply chain and employment and training opportunities.”
Jon Muff, structures lead for the joint venture, said: “We’ve made excellent progress this year having completed the foundations and piers construction for these two bridges and it’s now great to see the beams being lifted into place as we programmed. Two specialist lifting cranes, one which can lift 500 tonnes, are being used to undertake these complex beam lifting operations.
“Bringing the specialist equipment and material to site has meant transporting a number of abnormal loads on local roads, so we’d like to thank the community and commuters for their patience.
“This project will also have real long-term benefits for local businesses on top of the investment we’ve been part of, which is something we’re very pleased about.”