Monday 18 Mar 2013
Unique partnership plans to replace Pont Briwet Bridge
Work is due to start next month on a £20m project to replace the wooden Pont Briwet viaduct near Porthmadog in North Wales with a new bridge.
The construction contract has been awarded to HOCHTIEF (UK) Construction, with work scheduled to begin on site in May for completion in February 2015.
Funding for the project will come not just from Network Rail but also includes over £9m from the European Regional Development Fund, administered by the Welsh Government, which has also made a substantial contribution of approximately £5m via the Mid Wales Regional Transport Consortium, TraCC. Gwynedd Council is also contributing to the partnership as well as managing the project. This funding is allowing for a full replacement of the existing structure rather than continuing to make ongoing repairs.
The current 22-span structure carries the single track Cambrian Coast railway from Dovey Junction to Pwllheli and a single track toll road across the Afon Dwyryd for cars. Heavier and larger vehicles, such as lorries and buses, are unable to use the existing bridge and face an extra eight-mile journey from Penrhydeudraeth to the Harlech road.
The proposed new structure will continue to carry the single track railway but also provide a two-lane public highway and cycle route and the current toll fees will be removed when the project is complete. The line speed across the new bridge will also be raised from 30 kilometres per hour to 65kph (18.6mph to 40.3mph) as part of plans to deliver faster journey times on the route.
Mark Langman, Network Rail’s Wales route managing director, said: "This scheme joins a number of other rail improvement projects in North Wales that will help deliver better journeys and boost economic growth in the area. The work at Pont Briwet bridge will make it easier to get to travel between Harlech, Penryndeudraeth and Porthmadog and we would like to thank people for their patience whilst this important work is carried out."
Councillor Barry Thomas, chair of the Mid Wales Transport Consortium Board, said that this was yet another excellent example of how TraCC are able to make a real positive impact on transport links within the region.
He said: “Discussions relating to Pont Briwet Bridge have been ongoing for some time and I am delighted that it can now finally proceed. This will be a major boost for the area, and will undoubtedly have positive impacts for rail and bus passengers with shorter journey times as well as drivers of larger or heavier vehicles who will be able to take advantage of a far more direct route across the river. TraCC is delighted to be a part of this major project.”
The new bridge will be 18 metres wide compared to the existing 8.5-metre wide structure. It will be built in phases so that train services will not be unnecessarily disrupted. A temporary bridge will also be provided for vehicle crossings.
Design development has been delivered by both Network Rail and Gwynedd Council who have worked closely together to deliver a detailed ground investigation and environmental surveys. These have been used as a detailed submission for Listed Building Consent, Planning Permission and Environmental Impact Assessment.
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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
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