Group to examine effects of £34.4m Porthmadog bypass
A group has been set up to look at the economic and social effects of a new £34.4m bypass on Porthmadog, Gwynedd.
Local opinion and residents' hopes for the future will be collated by consultants, who will compile a report.
Construction of the new road is under way and will affect the communities of Tremadog, Porthmadog, Penrhyndeudraeth and Minffordd.
Businesses believe the main problem may be loss of passing trade, especially at Tremadog.
Work on the new section of the A487 is expected to take two years, with the intention to create an improvement in journey times, easing of congestion and better environmental conditions.
There are concerns, however.
"This bypass will be a challenge for some local businesses, especially at Tremadog," said Tremadog local, and county, councillor Alwyn Gruffydd.
"The eight businesses there depend on passing trade, but it does give us an opportunity to recognise the opportunity this gives us," he added.
End Quote Karon Roberts Shop manager, Tremadog
The new road is definitely going to affect us”
Mr Gruffydd said a short-term solution would be to have better signage so that motorists know what to find in the area.
Longer term, the square in Tremadog could perhaps be closed off for a market, he added.'Hopes and fear'
"Consultants have been employed and the first thing they will do is ask local people and businesses what their hopes and fears are," he said.
Karon Roberts, manager of the Dodrefn Cymru furniture store, one of the businesses which could be affected in Tremadog, said: "We get quite a bit of passing trade here.
"You'll get people from Blaenau come in and say 'we've passed you loads of time and thought we'd come in and have a look'."
Mr Roberts said there was an onus on businesses to advertise themselves more widely, and he welcomed the idea of better sign posts.
"Better signs would be good, and we should take advantage of the history of the area and enhance Tremadog to turn it into somewhere people want to visit.
"The new road is definitely going to affect us," he added.
The group brings together Gwynedd Council, Porthmadog Town Council, Penrhyndeudraeth community council, Porthmadog Chamber of Trade and the newly-formed Tremadog Business Group.
"Our aim will be to maximise the economic benefits the new bypass will bring to all the areas. Work is now underway to consider possible initiatives which will help us to realise these efforts," said a council spokesman.