The ‘purple’ option involves building a new bridge to the east of the existing Britannia Bridge. Provision for pedestrians and cyclists will be included as part of the scheme. No decision has yet been taken on the form of the bridge, though the consultation documents show indicative illustrations of extradosed, cable-stayed and balanced-cantilever designs.
The options were developed by a team that includes Aecom, Knight Architects and Richards, Moorehead & Laing. Public consultation began in December last year (link opens in new tab).
Appraisal revealed that the purple option provides the highest economic benefits, offers ‘high’ value for money and is the best performing in terms of highway alignment. It was also the most popular option of the public consultation with 25% of respondents selecting it as their first choice.
As part of the next stages, a procurement exercise will take place to appoint technical advisors to develop the preliminary design and prepare for publication of draft orders and an environmental statement.
Further analysis is also required as part of the next stage of development to determine which form of bridge is most suitable; the cost of the structure is dependent on this analysis.
First minister Carwyn Jones said that the A55 is important locally, nationally and internationally. It provides the main economic artery for North Wales and connects the region with the rest of Wales, the UK and Europe. “The Britannia Bridge is the only section of the route which is single carriageway and we know this reduction in lanes leads to congestion at peak times and during the tourist seasons,” he said. “There is very strong case for increasing capacity across the Menai and I am delighted the Welsh Government is taking action to address the issue.”