Third bridge over Menai Strait to move a step closer
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.”