Pont Briwet, looking north from Llandecwyn
|Carries||Road and Railway (Cambrian Coast railway)|
|Locale||Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd North Wales|
|Width||Single 10 feet (3.0 m) roadway, plus single standard-gauge (4 foot 8½ inch) railway track|
Built by the Aberystwyth and Welsh Coast Railway and opened by Cambrian Railways in 1867, the privately owned toll road structure carries both the Cambrian Coast railway and a single-track road south to Harlech.
Due to its age and weight restrictions, the roadway section only carried cars, excluding lorries and ambulances. This resulted in an extended 8 miles (13 km) journey to access the Harlech road from Penrhyndeudraeth.
In July 2010, the Welsh Assembly Government announced a £20 million joint project with Network Rail to replace the existing bridge with a new structure by 2013. The old bridge was to have been retained due to its listed structure, and transformed into a pedestrian walkway, but approval was granted for its demolition in February 2012.
The new bridge is planned to carry two lanes of road traffic and a single track railway, and is expected to be fully opened in 2015. It was hoped that, apart from a four week period when power cables had to be moved, the old viaduct could remain open throughout the works.
Construction work began in March 2013. However, in November 2013 the existing wooden bridge was found to have been affected by the piling work for the new bridge, and was declared structurally unsafe and closed in December 2013. This necessitated a diversion via Maentwrog for road users, and caused rail services to terminate at Harlech, closing the 22 miles (35 km) line to Pwllheli via Porthmadog. A new temporary road bridge was due to be in place by Spring 2014, but this plan was shelved by Gwynedd Council in favour of a controlled traffic convoy system[clarification needed] on the A496 between Maentwrog and Llandecwyn because of safety fears due to increased traffic on the A496.
The new viaduct has now been opened to rail traffic (services between Harlech & Pwllheli recommencing on 1 September 2014, after a gap for 9 months), but work on the parallel roadway has been delayed by problems relocating electricity cables & a water main that currently use the old bridge and so it is not now expected to be fully completed until spring 2015.
- "New £20m road and rail bridge plan for Penrhyndeudraeth". BBC Wales News. 12 July 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- "Pont Briwet demolition plans approved by Snowdonia National Park". BBC News. 22 February 2012.
- "Penrhyndeudraeth-Harlech bridge replacement under way". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 15 March 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- "Penrhyndeudraeth-Harlech bridge closes for cable work". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 15 April 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- "Railway line closed after work destabilises rail and road crossing in North Wales". Daily Post. 6 November 2013.
- "Pont Briwet bridge closed over safety as £20m crossing built". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 13 January 2014. Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Milner, Chris (1 January 2014). "Bridge fiasco could close Porthmadog line until 2015". The Railway Magazine (Mortons Media Group). Retrieved 20 January 2014.
- Cygnor Gwynned Council - Pont Briwet Road Maintenance and Improvement Scheme Gwynned Council website article; Retrieved 2014-09-08
- Delay to new Pont Briwet road bridge at PenrhyndeudraethBBC News; Retrieved 2014-09-08
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