Anglesey third bridge case 'weakened' by Wylfa failure

Image caption,
Telford's Menai suspension bridge was 200 years old in 2019 - but can be a bottleneck for traffic

The case for a third bridge linking Anglesey with the north Wales mainland has been weakened by the suspension of plans for a new nuclear power station, admits the Welsh economy minister.

But Ken Skates said he remained optimistic for proposals to deliver a new crossing "as planned".

The £13bn Wylfa Newydd nuclear plant plans were put on hold by Japanese firm Hitachi in January.

Traffic on the two current bridges faces daily delays at peak times.

The former First Minister Carwyn Jones AM set out plans for a new crossing more than a year ago, with the preferred route taking the A55 across the Menai Strait alongside the current Britannia Bridge.

Construction was due to get underway in 2021 after further analysis was carried out.

But the economy minister told BBC Wales that the suspension of the Wylfa Newydd programme would have to be considered in relation to a new crossing for the island.

"Without the Wylfa Newydd programme, of course the business case is not as strong," said Mr Skates.

"But that's not to say it doesn't stack up and makes it less likely.

"We're hopeful that we will be able to proceed as planned, in the timeframe we've outlined."

Image caption,
A third Menai crossing "remains in our plans" insists Economy minister Ken Skates

Mr Skates said the Welsh Government was keeping proposals for a third crossing in its infrastructure programme.

In October, the UK government deferred a decision on granting planning permission for the Wylfa Newydd project.

Work on the development consent order had been continuing, despite the decision to suspend the nuclear plant programme.

If the permission is granted, it could help re-start the Wylfa project - if funding can be put in place.