Cyngor Gwynedd officially opens Pont Bodefail
Picture of YGC employees
A key bridge in Llŷn has been officially opened, which is the culmination of four years of work and an investment of up to £3 million which includes improvements to the road and surface water drainage works – just in time to welcome the National Eisteddfod to the area. On Wednesday, 3 May, the Bodefail Bridge, which crosses Afon Rhyd-hir river and forms part of the A497 between Nefyn and Pwllheli, was officially opened. The new bridge replaces the old Bodfal Bridge. The bridge’s new name was revealed during the ceremony and is a combination of the names of the two villages closest to the bridge – Boduan and Efailnewydd. The name was coined by Magi Griffiths, a Year 2 pupil at Ysgol Pentreuchaf, who was crowned winner in a competition for local children. Protecting and celebrating indigenous Welsh place names is a priority for Cyngor Gwynedd and Meirion McIntyre Huws, the Council’s Welsh Language Promotion Project Officer, was on the panel that chose the name. The old Bodfal Bridge – which dates back to the 19th Century and is a Grade II listed structure – was closed in January 2019 after significant damage and deterioration to the foundations becoming apparent following a storm. Unfortunately, traffic had to be diverted eight miles to the Ffôr for a short period, while emergency work was carried out to install a temporary bridge and to repair the old bridge. The possibility of widening the old bridge and make it suitable to the needs of today’s traffic network was investigated. But after discussions with Cadw and conservation officers, it became clear that this would not be viable and the long-term project of building a brand new bridge began.
Councillor Berwyn Parry Jones, Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet Member for the Highways, Engineering and YGC (Gwynedd Consultancy) Department said: “The A497 is a strategically important road for the people who live and work in this part of Gwynedd, so it’s great to be here on such an exciting and historic day. The new bridge and road are suitable for modern needs and will make life easier for local people to get from A to B. The old Bodfal Bridge has been protected as a recreational road for pedestrians and cyclists. “I know that things have been difficult over the last few years while the work was going on and I am extremely grateful for the patience of the local community throughout this period. “Cyngor Gwynedd is proud of the fact that we can provide design, engineering and project management services and offer local people specialist and professional careers in the field. The Bodefail Bridge development is a great example of this and the investment here in this part of the county has been worthwhile. “I am also proud that the Council’s ecologists have worked with our engineers to ensure that the natural environment and fish habitats in the river have been protected throughout the work.” The ribbon was cut by Councillor Anwen Davies, the Local Member for Buan and Efailnewydd ward. She said: “It was a pleasure to be part of the ceremony today. The new bridge looks fantastic and I’m also glad that the old bridge will still be in place as it is of local historical importance and will still be available for people to walk or cycle, safely from by traffic of the main road. “I’m sure local people will be glad that the new bridge is open and it will make life easier. There is great anticipation for the Llŷn ac Eifionydd National Eisteddfod, especially as the festival Maes will be just a stone’s throw from the bridge. Everyone is please that it is ready for when people from all over Wales, and beyond, arrive here to the area. “This is a popular area with tourists too so the new bridge will help us cope with the extra traffic of the busy holiday period, as people come here to enjoy the Llŷn countryside.”
The new bridge is approximately 17 meters long and three meters high with a single arch. It has been open to traffic for a few weeks but minor work still to be completed. Griffiths were employed as main contractors on the project.
Owain Thomas, Operations Director North Wales for Griffiths said: “We are proud to have been a part of this project and to have played a key role in its successful completion. “I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of our local supply chain partners and stakeholders who have worked with us to make this day possible. I would also like to thank our construction team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure that this project has been completed to the highest standards. “We look forward to seeing thousands of people travel over the bridge this summer to attend the National Eisteddfod.”