Penrhyndeudraeth-Harlech bridge replacement under way
Work to build a new bridge across the River Dwyryd in Gwynedd is getting underway, promising a new link between Penrhyndeudraeth and Harlech.
The £19.5m bridge will replace the current Pont Briwet wooden crossing, which was built in the 1860s.
The new bridge will carry a single train track and two lanes of traffic, unlike the one lane on the old bridge.
Gwynedd council said final plans are now being drawn up, and the crossing is expected to be completed by 2015.
"I am delighted that work is starting on this hugely important project for the Meirionnydd area of the county," said Gareth Roberts, the cabinet member for the environment.
"Whilst the old Pont Briwet has served the area well for almost 150 years, the bridge has seen better days and is no longer suitable for modern transport requirements."
The project is being run by the Welsh government and funded by £9m in European grants, along with investment from Network Rail, Gwynedd council, and the mid Wales transport consortium TraCC.
The construction company HOCHTIEF (UK) has been appointed to build the new bridge, alongside Gwynedd-based civil engineers Mulcair.
During the two-year construction, a temporary bridge will carry traffic over the river estuary.
Network Rail said: "The work at Pont Briwet bridge will make it easier to get to travel between Harlech, Penryndeudraeth and Porthmadog and we would like to thank people for their patience whilst this important work is carried out."