Menai Bridge closure: why is suspension bridge from Anglesey to mainland Wales closed, when will it reopen?

Traffic will be diverted to the Britannia Bridge

A bridge connecting Anglesey with mainland Wales will be shut for months, it has been announced.

The Menai Bridge, which is 200-years-old and was the first of its kind in the world, shut on Friday. It will remain closed until 2023.

Traffic will be diverted to the Britannia Bridge with disruption and traffic expected as a result of the closure. Here is all you need to know:

When is the Menai Bridge closed?

The bridge to Anglesy shut on Friday (21 October) afternoon. It closed at 2pm and will remain shut until early 2023, the Welsh Government has said.

It will be closed for 14 to 16 weeks. The bridge is shut to traffic but pedestrians and dismounted cyclists can use the bridge, it has been confirmed.

Why is the Menai Bridge closed?

The suspension bridge has been shut for essential maintenance work. It comes after structural engineers recommended that it should be closed to all traffic.

The announcement was made following recent testing of the bridges existing hangers. As part of UK Highways A55 ongoing maintenance of the Menai 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.

The Welsh Government said in a statement: “As a result of further investigation, serious risks have been identified and structural engineers have recommended to close Menai Bridge to all traffic. The findings that led to the recommendation to close the bridge are currently being reviewed which could take up to two weeks. Available options to reopen the bridge as soon as possible are being actively assessed.

“Temporary hanger strengthening works may need to be installed to ensure the safety and integrity of the Menai Bridge. This programme could take between 14 to 16 weeks, with the bridge reopening in early 2023.”

During the closure, traffic will be diverted to the Britannia Bridge.

The Menai Suspension Bridge. Picture: ANDREW YATES/AFP via Getty Images

When will the Menai Bridge reopen?

The bridge will be closed for 14 to 16 weeks and will remain closed for the rest of 2022. It is expected that the Menai Bridge will reopen in early 2022.

A spokesperson for UK Highways A55 said: “We have received a recommendation from structural engineers to close the bridge for safety reasons. We have passed on this recommendation to the Welsh Government and are working closely with them to ensure the safety and integrity of the Menai Bridge is maintained.

“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 added: “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.”

Can pedestrians use the bridge?

The Welsh Government said: “Following discussions with UK Highways and their structural experts, the footway across the bridge has been re-opened for pedestrians and dismounted cyclists.

“People must remain on the pedestrian footways and numbers will be limited. Marshalls will be in place from Friday, 21 October to Monday, 24 October to manage pedestrian flows and monitoring will be put in place to ensure compliance moving forward.”