Flagship £139m bypass opens in Wales

The A487 Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass has been completed ahead of time and opened to traffic but was briefly closed within hours following a crash.

The Welsh Government said the decision to open the road at the weekend, rather than Friday, was in order not to encourage unnecessary travel during Storm Eunice.

However, on Saturday afternoon North Wales Police said they were dealing with a four vehicle crash on the new road, with ‘minor injuries only’ but diversions in place through local routes while the road is cleared.

The 9.7km bypass runs from the Goat Roundabout on the A499/A487 to the Plas Menai roundabout. Officials said the £139m scheme, delivered by the Balfour Beatty Jones Bros Joint Venture, was one of the largest recent infrastructure projects in North Wales.

Construction began in 2019 with work continuing throughout the pandemic.

As part of the scheme, 17 major structures were built and 99% of the excavated materials were recycled and reused on the bypass. The project also includes improved active travel routes for walking and cycling in the area.

Officials said measures have been put in place to ‘minimise’ the environmental impact of the scheme, to improve and enhance biodiversity in the area, including safe passages for wildlife.

In total, 170,000 plants, providing around 14 hectares of new native species, woodlands and scrub, as well as over 20km of new hedgerows were also planted.

The Welsh Government’s deputy minister for climate change, Lee Waters, who has responsibility for transport, said: ‘This project represents a significant investment in the area by the Welsh Government and it is testimony to the local workforce that it has been completed ahead of time.’

Jon Muff, project lead at Balfour Beatty Jones Bros said: ‘We are very grateful to the team for their hard work and dedication throughout the project, bringing together the skills and expertise across our joint venture to connect communities in Caernarfon and Bontnewydd whilst significantly reducing traffic congestion and improving journey times.

‘We are proud of the legacy we are leaving behind, which includes considerable spend in the local area as well as training and upskilling dozens of people, including graduates and apprentices.’

Gwion Lloyd, a 22-year-old engineering apprentice from Harlech has been on site since he started in 2019. He said: ‘It has been excellent to learn so much on such a major project for the region, and I couldn’t have asked for a better start to my civil engineering career.

‘It gives me great pride to know that the community, including family and friends, will be able to benefit from the bypass on a regular basis.’

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