THE MS for Ynys Môn, Rhun ap Iorwerth, has outlined three key issues in response to the sudden closure of Menai Bridge last Friday (October 21).
In the Senedd yesterday afternoon (October 25), he also called on Welsh Government to act quickly to ensure that the bridge is re-opened at the earliest opportunity.
Mr ap Iorwerth focused on the immediate response needed following Lee Waters, the deputy minister for climate change’s statement, including urgent measures to help alleviate traffic congestion near the Britannia Bridge.
This focused especially on the need to ensure swift crossing for emergency services, before turning to ask key questions on how the decision was reached without any prior warning to bridge users.
Finally, he referred once again to the need for a third Menai crossing, to ensure resilience in the area’s key transport infrastructure.
In his response to Mr Waters’ statement in the Senedd, Mr ap Iorwerth MS said: “It is difficult to overstate the impact of closing the Menai Bridge on my constituents.
“There are three main things to consider – firstly, steps being taken to keep traffic flowing and to mitigate the risks that arise.
“Secondly, how was this allowed to happen in the first place and how do we find the first way to reopen safely?
“And thirdly, what will be the response to this in order to ensure resilience in the long term?
“We must hear about concrete measures being taken to respond to the situation urgently – this includes ensuring that emergency services have access to and from the island, and that key staff can get to their place of work swiftly, and safely.”
“We need a new crossing as I have called for over the years for exactly this purpose – to ensure resilience in our transport infrastructure.
“A three-lane system during ‘peak flow’ was considered, but government officials ultimately decided that the bridge was too narrow for that.
“It may be possible to look at implementing something like that temporarily now, but the truth is that a permanent, durable solution is needed.
“It’s one thing to be an island, it’s another thing to be isolated. And that is the reality that has now been exposed.
“I am looking forward to a commitment to urgently resume the work of developing the new crossing.”
In his response, Mr Waters said that he would be writing to Mr ap Iorwerth with more details, and inviting him to meet with Welsh Government transport officials to discuss the matter further.