Schoolchildren cut the ribbon at new bridge following year of closures23rd Jun 2021

A group of schoolchildren have opened a new bridge in Gwynedd and become the first people to walk across it, following a year-long road closure.

The 16 pupils from Ysgol Felinwnda near Llanfaglan also had the chance to talk to staff from the Balfour Beatty Jones Bros joint venture, which is delivering the £135m Caernarfon and Bontnewydd Bypass project.

The bridge forms part of an unnamed road, known locally as Lôn Felinwnda, which adjoins the bypass site.

Four year 6 pupils, having also experienced their own share of closures over the past year, had the honour of cutting the ribbon.

Carys Thomas, headteacher at Ysgol Felinwnda, said: “The kids really enjoyed the experience, having a look at the new road and the new bridge, and they were all pleased to receive a goodie-bag as well.

“We gave the honour of cutting the ribbon to year 6 because while it’s been an awful year for us all, we wanted to give those children something pleasant to remember from the school in their final months.

“They were amazed by the road itself, so some of the girls and boys may well now want to find out more about becoming a civil engineer.”

The Balfour Beatty Jones Bros joint venture has also assisted the school in supplying a new external gate, as well as helping with secure outdoor storage.

Elgan Ellis, roads lead on the project, said: “Many of the pupils will have seen the bypass being built from a distance, so it was fantastic to welcome them to the site to see the work close up.

“Giving youngsters the chance to find out more about civil engineering in a practical setting is something we really value, and we’re glad the easing of lockdown restrictions allowed this to happen.”

The Welsh Government appointed the joint venture of Balfour Beatty Jones Bros in January 2019 as principal contractor to deliver the scheme.

The 9.8km bypass, which is scheduled for completion in spring 2022, will link the Goat roundabout on the A499/A487 to the Plas Menai roundabout north of Caernarfon.

Balfour Beatty is a leading international infrastructure group. With 28,000 employees, it provides innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth.

It finances, develops, builds and maintains complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.

Established in the 1950s, Jones Bros’ leadership team consists of members of the second and third generations of the founding family. It employs more than 500 people.

The company is currently working on contracts in various sectors including highways, flood and marine defence, waste management and renewable energy around the UK.

The company runs an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, which has produced more than 40 per cent of its current workforce, with many of its senior managers having started out as apprentices or in a trainee role.  It has recruited more than 100 apprentices during the past three years.