Pont Briwet, a Grade II listed wooden bridge which crosses the River Dwyryd in Penrhyndeudraeth North Wales, has been closed since January due to safety fears. This is understandable - many of us have endured a difficult winter. This bridge was to be used until a new road and rail crossing costing £20 million which is completed in 2015.
Since the closure in January a number of measures have been suggested, including a temporary bridge which would have been installed this May to ensure that local road and rail users could get to where they needed to go.
This temporary bridge, which would have been in place until Gwynedd Council had concluded the development of the new project, could had provided a solution for local taxpayers, solving infrastructure issues. What's more, if the works on the current project were delayed then surely the temporary bridge could have been more than sufficient to deal with this.
It has been announced that monies initially earmarked for the installation of a temporary bridge will now be used to employ a vehicle to guide traffic through a number of country roads, which have in the past been described as hazardous. Equally, if there are delays on the current build of the new bridge the costs could spiral out of control. The convoy will be operational for only twelve hours of the day, so those travelling after 6.30pm until 6.30am will get the help.
Tudur Williams, head teacher at Ysgol Ardudwy in Harlech, said it was:
“very, very disappointing" that a temporary bridge would not be put in place… it's going to affect the local economy some of the restaurants here already say that their trade has gone down”
This decision has two major consequences: firstly, for local taxpayers the convoy approach is going to harm the flow of traffic - inevitably there will be delays. And as Mr Williams points out, it could even cost jobs. Secondly, due to the time restrictions on escorted travel there could be more accidents.
It is time for officials to start taking a common sense approach to the local economy and local taxpayers.