Welsh Government challenged over promised third Menai crossing following freeze on new road projects
The Welsh Government has been challenged over the future of its plans to introduce a third crossing linking Anglesey to the mainland.
Ministers previously pledged to open a third crossing over the Menai Strait by 2022.
Those proposals were thrown into doubt earlier this week after the government announced a freeze on all new road schemes pending a review.
North Wales MS Mark Isherwood yesterday called for an update on the situation in the Senedd.
He said: “When I raised this with the previous First Minister four years ago, in June 2017, here, I said: ‘Clearly, congestion on the existing Menai and Britannia bridges has been a problem for many years. It’s a decade since a Welsh Government-commissioned report identified eight options, including a new bridge, but that didn’t go forward to delivery.
“You said last May’ – 2016 – ‘that you would promise to make the third crossing your priority for North Wales if you form a government and, of course, your government announced before Christmas last year’ – in 2016 – ‘that it had appointed consultants to look at routes for a proposed new crossing to Anglesey, which could begin by 2021 if it gets the go-ahead.’
“I asked him to ‘provide an assurance that we’re not going to have a re-run of 2007 when we had similar assurances after a commissioned report was produced for the Welsh Government and that you envisage this going ahead’.
“The First Minister at the time replied: ‘We have appointed Aecom to support our next phase of the development work. That will result in the announcement of a preferred route in May 2018. Our aim is to see the third Menai crossing open in 2022.’
“That was a pledge four years ago. How watertight are pledges today, or do you have something to tell us about the Menai crossing?”
In his response, Lee Waters, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said: “All schemes not currently in the ground need to be reviewed, and there needs to be a set of metrics developed to decide which ones should go ahead and which ones shouldn’t.
“In the meantime, we can reallocate some of that funding towards road maintenance and improving public transport. So, the problems that Mark Isherwood identified can be dealt with in other ways.”
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