Help needed for help businesses hit by Menai Bridge closure, says Anglesey MS
Concerns have been raised about the impact of the closure of the Menai Bridge on local businesses.
Ynys Môn Senedd Member Rhun ap Iorwerth said help was needed after being contacted by many Anglesey businesses reporting a serious drop in takings and footfall.
It comes after the bridge was suddenly closed last month following an announcement by the Welsh Government highlighting safety issues.
It’s been estimated that maintenance work to resolve the problem could take up to 16 weeks, leading to criticism from the island’s MP Virginia Crosbie.
Mr ap Iorwerth has now called for a “business as usual” campaign to be launched advertising that businesses remain open despite the bridge being closed, as well as advising tourists on how to avoid peak crossing times.
The Plaid Cymru politician said: “Many local businesses have been in touch with me following the bridge’s closure, with concerns about the slump in footfall and takings.
“I’ve therefore suggested and ‘open for business as usual’ campaign to help those businesses who’ve been hit hard.
“I’ve contacted Anglesey Council to ask them to look into this – and Welsh Government should consider providing financial assistance”.
The last update on the Menai Bridge closure was provided in the Senedd last week by the Welsh Government’s Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters.
He said: “As part of the last principal inspection in 2019, a concern about the resilience of hangers that support the suspension bridge were identified and led to a weight restriction being imposed on the bridge while further studies were carried out.
“The latest inspection was reported to the Welsh Government last Wednesday, and it unexpectedly highlighted an immediate concern around the brittle failure mechanism of the hangers.
“As is standard practice, officials reviewed and challenged the findings. However, based on very clear advice from structural engineers, it was considered that there was no other option but to close the bridge while further checks on the analysis are undertaken by an independent consultant.
“This was not a decision that was taken lightly, and I fully appreciate the implications that this has for local people, especially without any advanced warnings.”
The findings that led to the recommendation to close the bridge are currently being reviewed. The initial review is expected to take up to two weeks.
Mr Water said officials were assessing all available options to reopen the bridge as soon as possible.
He said temporary hanger-strengthening measures may need to be installed to ensure the safety of the bridge, and this work could take between 14 and 16 weeks
It would mean the bridge would reopen to vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes early next year.
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