Third bridge over Menai Strait to move a step closer

Bangor Mail - - NEWS - Pre­ferred bid­ders to draw up routes for a third cross­ing over the Menai could be ap­pointed by Christ­mas

A THIRD Menai cross­ing and a mas­sive in­vest­ment on the A55/A494 at Dee­side are among the multi­bil­lion pound in­fra­struc­ture plans an­nounced last week.

The in­vest­ment, which in North Wales also in­clude a metro sys­tem, new rail fran­chise, a ports de­vel­op­ment fund and im­proved bus ser­vices, will be the largest Wales has seen in a gen­er­a­tion.

Econ­omy and In­fra­struc­ture Sec­re­tary Ken Skates (be­low) was at Cardiff air­port last Wed­nes­day, set­ting out his vi­sion for a mod­ern, in­te­grated trans­port net­work.

He an­nounced that the pre­ferred bid­der to draw up route op­tions for a third bridge over the Menai Strait will be ap­pointed be­fore Christ­mas, while the road in­vest­ment on Dee­side will be big­gest in North Wales since de­vo­lu­tion.

Mr Skates (right) said: “Our his­toric, multi bil­lion pound in­vest­ment shows how se­ri­ous this Welsh Gov­ern­ment is about de­liv­er­ing a world class trans­port sys­tem in Wales – one that sus- tain­ably con­nects peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties to jobs and ser­vices and drives our econ­omy for­ward.

“Our net­work holds the key to de­liv­er­ing a pros­per­ous Wales, to en­sur­ing our gen­eral health and well­be­ing and build­ing co­he­sive com­mu­ni­ties. Our col­lec­tive chal­lenge must be to use this bil­lion pound in­vest­ment cre­atively and col­lab­o­ra­tively to sus­tain­ably de­velop a world class trans­port sys­tem that de­liv­ers the very best re­sults for Wales.

“I also want to es­tab­lish a bet­ter in­formed, bet­ter de­signed, long-term, ev­i­denced-based ap­proach to the plan­ning of our trans­port net­work, and the Na­tional In­fra­struc­ture Com­mis­sion, which we are propos­ing, along­side an up­dated Welsh Trans­port Plan­ning and Ap­praisal Guid­ance will help en­sure this.”

He said he wanted to be smarter about how it funded lo­cal bus and train ser­vices, with bet­ter in­for­ma­tion, tick­et­ing and gen­uinely re­gional trans­port plan­ning.

He also said he would use the new Wales and Bor­ders fran­chise from Oc­to­ber 2018 as an op­por­tu­nity to plan for huge pro­jected growth of rail pas­sen­ger num­bers and pre­pare for the fu­ture in a “clear and clever way”.

In his speech he also called for greater de­vo­lu­tion of trans­port pow­ers to Wales, in­clud­ing fund­ing for rail in­fra­struc­ture and new pow­ers over air pas­sen­ger duty.

Wel­com­ing the an­nounce­ment, Al­bert Owen MP said “I have lob­bied the Econ­omy Sec­re­tary as part of my cam­paign to get Anglesey con­nected. North West Wales need the in­fra­struc­ture to reach its po­ten­tial.

“It will see Anglesey and North Wales be­ing cen­tral to this. Anglesey is the gate­way to Wales with its im­por­tant Ir­ish con­nec­tion and links to Eng­land and be­yond.

“I’ll con­tinue to work with the Welsh and UK Gov­ern­ment for long-term de­vel­op­ment plans.”

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