Menai Bridge: Why it's closed, for how long and what are the alternative routes?

The Menai Bridge closed suddenly due to a "structural issue" Credit: Media Wales

The Menai Bridge, which is one of two routes connecting Anglesey to mainland Wales, has been closed with immediate effect.

The historic landmark requires emergency maintenance work after a "structural issue" was discovered.

With the bridge likely to be closed for some time, local residents and businesses will feel the impact over the coming months.

  • Why has it closed?

The Menai Bridge closed suddenly due to a structural issue that caused "significant risk" during an inspection, the Welsh Government confirmed.

Recent testing into the existing hangers on the bridge led to the decision.

The bridge connects the island of Anglesey to mainland Wales

"Significant risks have been identified during a recent inspection and we have been advised to close the bridge until essential works are completed" the Welsh Government said.

As part of UK Highways A55 ongoing maintenance of the bridge, it was identified that further testing would need to be carried out on the Menai Bridge alongside the replacement of some of the hangers.

Plans have been discussed with partners including Welsh Government, UK Highways A55, NMWTRA, Emergency Services and the local authorities.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, Member of the Senedd for Ynys Môn since 2013, said he was "very concerned about the impact of closing the Menai bridge until the new year".

  • The history

The Menai Bridge was the world's first suspension bridge and opened in 1826.

It is a Grade 1 listed landmark, built by Thomas Telford and spans across the Menai Strait.

The Bridge is 1,265 feet long and 30m above water to allow tall ships to sail beneath.

The closure has added pressure to build a third crossing over the Menai Strait.
  • How much disruption has it caused?

The island of Anglesey is a popular tourist destination with around 68,900 permanent residents, according to the Office of National Statistics.

With the Menai Bridge one of two main routes connecting the island to mainland Wales, disruption has already been felt by locals and is expected to remain over the coming months.

Another social media user said there was "a 30 minute wait to cross the Britannia Bridge" following the closure of the Menai Bridge.

  • What's the best way to get to Anglesey and back?

The Menai Bridge is one of two main transport links to get back and forth to Anglesey.

Now, drivers will only be able to use the A55 Britannia Bridge to make crossings, but this route is expected to be busier than normal.

The Welsh Government added it will "increase resilience" on that bridge as it often closed to high-sided vehicles during bad weather.

Over the last five years, the Britannia Bridge has been closed to these vehicles on average seven times a year.

The situation has added pressure to build a third crossing over the Menai Strait.

The four-month closure caused issues for locals, commuters and businesses alike Credit: Media Walea
  • When will it reopen?

The Bridge is likely to remain closed until the New Year while repairs are made.

Despite being closed to vehicles from October 21, the footpath has since reopened.

The Welsh Government confirmed that the path will remain open to pedestrians and dismounted cyclists whilst working is being complete.

A spokesperson for UK Highways A55 said, "While this issue will cause disruption, we must act in the interest of public safety. We are currently peer reviewing the findings that led to the recommendation of closure and assessing all available options to reopen the bridge as soon as possible so people can get back to using the bridge regularly."

Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said, "This urgent work is being carried out for public safety, unfortunately it is unavoidable, but we are fully aware of the implication this will have for people in the local area.

"We are working closely with UK Highways  to ensure this work is carried out safely and as quickly as possible with minimal disruption to the local community."