Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

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Phil
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Re: Menai Straits Crossing - what's needed?

Post by Phil » Mon Sep 13, 2021 01:36

SouthWest Philip wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:34
Maybe build an identical bridge alongside the existing one, to maintain the aesthetic appearance (at least from a distance), and then both the road and railway could be dualled?
The railway doesn't need a 2nd bridge to be doubled - the deck is wide and strong enough for two tracks. It was a cost cutting decision by British Rail to only put back a single track after the bridge was rebuilt following the fire which damaged the original.

However some of the supports for the road approaches might be in the way and IIRC the space for a second track has since been used for utility pipes, etc. A second road bridge would allow these to be easily reconfigured although if the will was there then I imagine it might well be possible to find solutions without it.

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jackal
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Re: Menai Straits Crossing - what's needed?

Post by jackal » Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:20

These were the preferred options from a few years back. Two lane:

A55 Menai preferred 2 lane - Copy.JPG

Four lane:

A55 Menai preferred 4 lane - Copy.JPG

Scheme page: https://gov.wales/a55-3rd-menai-crossing-0

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Re: Menai Straits Crossing - what's needed?

Post by Rillington » Mon Sep 13, 2021 18:16

Phil wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 01:36
SouthWest Philip wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:34
Maybe build an identical bridge alongside the existing one, to maintain the aesthetic appearance (at least from a distance), and then both the road and railway could be dualled?
The railway doesn't need a 2nd bridge to be doubled - the deck is wide and strong enough for two tracks. It was a cost cutting decision by British Rail to only put back a single track after the bridge was rebuilt following the fire which damaged the original.

However some of the supports for the road approaches might be in the way and IIRC the space for a second track has since been used for utility pipes, etc. A second road bridge would allow these to be easily reconfigured although if the will was there then I imagine it might well be possible to find solutions without it.
One option might be for a second railway line to be built on what is now the road with one half of the space used for a new railway line and the other half converted into a cycle/walkway.

Or two railway lines could be built on the current road section with the bottom section being used as the cycle/walkway.

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Re: Menai Straits Crossing - what's needed?

Post by rhyds » Mon Sep 13, 2021 18:26

Rillington wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 18:16
Phil wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 01:36
SouthWest Philip wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:34
Maybe build an identical bridge alongside the existing one, to maintain the aesthetic appearance (at least from a distance), and then both the road and railway could be dualled?
The railway doesn't need a 2nd bridge to be doubled - the deck is wide and strong enough for two tracks. It was a cost cutting decision by British Rail to only put back a single track after the bridge was rebuilt following the fire which damaged the original.

However some of the supports for the road approaches might be in the way and IIRC the space for a second track has since been used for utility pipes, etc. A second road bridge would allow these to be easily reconfigured although if the will was there then I imagine it might well be possible to find solutions without it.
One option might be for a second railway line to be built on what is now the road with one half of the space used for a new railway line and the other half converted into a cycle/walkway.

Or two railway lines could be built on the current road section with the bottom section being used as the cycle/walkway.
The problem with either plan is there's no real need to double-track the bridge. The only place being served on the island side is Caergybi/Holyhead and there's not really enough traffic to make it worth double-tracking.
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rhyds
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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by rhyds » Mon Sep 13, 2021 19:07

In my experience, the problems around the Menai crossings are many and varied.

The first is that Porthaethwy and Llanfairpwll effectively function as "North Bangor" and the two existing crossings have to deal with all the local bus and commuter traffic heading to Bangor, Caernarfon and points south/east. This isn't helped by the Britannia Bridge having the Parc Menai business park on the A4087 just as you cross to the mainland and the Menai bridge dumping you in to the middle of Porthaethwy (next to Waitrose).

The second is the "tidal" and "lumpy" nature of the boat traffic. Heading off the Stena Line at Caergybi is the closest you can get to re-enacting the Wacky Races cartoon in real life. Everyone boots it off the boat, and having got out of the port and on to the A55 its full send and wagons roll (esepcially with derestricted Irish lorries!) until you hit the 2-in-to-1-in-to-1.5-in-to-1 at Llanfairpwll and everything stops. Once you clear the bridge everything opens up and calms down again.

Thirdly, it doesn't take that much wind to close the Britannia to high siders, leading to stacked up trucks and vans and caravans trying to get over the Menai bridge. On a properly windy day both bridges will close to high siders, making things very difficult for the local area as trucks try and find somewhere to park up until they can roll again.

Now, a new crossing would fix the above issues mainly by not cutting the traffic throughput by more than 50% as the road passes the last major population centre before it reaches its terminus. Also, lets not forget that the Britannia bridge was a rush job, which only got a car deck because the tubular bridge was burned down. At the time a WS2 was a massive upgrade over the Menai Bridge, espeically as the A5 was pretty much an S2 country lane all the way from Llanfairpwll to Caergybi, whereas now its left as a Cumberland Gap/Britton Ferry gap in the high quality D2 route to and from the port.

However, to put things in perspective there have been some serious changes to the traffic needs of Ynys Mon since the road deck opened in 1980. Rio Tinto/Anglesey Aluminium have shut their aluminium smelting plant with the loss many jobs and knock-on traffic reduction, while the loss of the Wylfa Newydd power station project also weakens the case for replacement. There's also the long term effects of Brexit to consider, as there's little reason to upgrade the bridge for boat traffic if its all going to be stacked up on the causeway 20 miles up the road.
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jackal
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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by jackal » Mon Sep 13, 2021 19:52

^ It looks like the current S2 crossing has about 37k AADT - pretty much as congested as it could possibly be. The Welsh govt may dream that everyone can modal shift to North Wales' famously comprehensive rail network :roll: but in the real world an additional crossing is required.

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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by rhyds » Mon Sep 13, 2021 21:20

jackal wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 19:52
^ It looks like the current S2 crossing has about 37k AADT - pretty much as congested as it could possibly be. The Welsh govt may dream that everyone can modal shift to North Wales' famously comprehensive rail network :roll: but in the real world an additional crossing is required.
The problem is that outside the morning and evening peaks it actually flows OK, which is probably why its not been sorted before now. Remember the S2 section itself has no junctions and is arrow straight so probably flows better than your average S2.

Also, with the Welsh Senedd and Westminster parliamentary elections a good few years away the Welsh government doesn't need to curry favour in the Ynys Mon constituency.
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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by ForestChav » Mon Sep 13, 2021 22:26

rhyds wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 21:20
jackal wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 19:52
^ It looks like the current S2 crossing has about 37k AADT - pretty much as congested as it could possibly be. The Welsh govt may dream that everyone can modal shift to North Wales' famously comprehensive rail network :roll: but in the real world an additional crossing is required.
The problem is that outside the morning and evening peaks it actually flows OK, which is probably why its not been sorted before now. Remember the S2 section itself has no junctions and is arrow straight so probably flows better than your average S2.

Also, with the Welsh Senedd and Westminster parliamentary elections a good few years away the Welsh government doesn't need to curry favour in the Ynys Mon constituency.
Well the issue would only be around funnelling the 2 lanes into 1 approaching the bridge, which in itself would rate-limit the traffic on Anglesey itself.

You'd probably need to look at the A55 approaching the bridge to see how much this affects the surrounding area, and if there is any significant overspill into going into Bangor on the A5 and over the old bridge.

I think we went over it when we were up there years back but then turned left off it as soon as we got onto Anglesey, obvious reasons.
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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by c2R » Mon Sep 13, 2021 22:35

rhyds wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 19:07

However, to put things in perspective there have been some serious changes to the traffic needs of Ynys Mon since the road deck opened in 1980. Rio Tinto/Anglesey Aluminium have shut their aluminium smelting plant with the loss many jobs and knock-on traffic reduction, while the loss of the Wylfa Newydd power station project also weakens the case for replacement. There's also the long term effects of Brexit to consider, as there's little reason to upgrade the bridge for boat traffic if its all going to be stacked up on the causeway 20 miles up the road.
Also, at the moment, much of the sea traffic is heading into Belfast - both freight and passengers have diverted in significant numbers away from the Holyhead to Dublin and Fishguard to Rosslare routes to avoid customs checks and Covid paperwork.
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Re: Menai Straits Crossing - what's needed?

Post by Osthagen » Wed Sep 15, 2021 16:39

Chris_533976 wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 21:02
This has always been my solution. Maybe a bit pricy.

Build a COMPLETELY IDENTICAL LOOKING bridge right next to it. Match it as perfectly as possible. Build it to modern standards, of course.

Run eastbound traffic on one bridge, westbound on the other.

There you go. No problem with it effecting the look of the old bridge and the area.
Or do one better, and build a more attractive bridge. Enhance the look of the area.
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Re: Menai Straits Crossing - what's needed?

Post by Rillington » Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:07

rhyds wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 18:26
Rillington wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 18:16
Phil wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 01:36


The railway doesn't need a 2nd bridge to be doubled - the deck is wide and strong enough for two tracks. It was a cost cutting decision by British Rail to only put back a single track after the bridge was rebuilt following the fire which damaged the original.

However some of the supports for the road approaches might be in the way and IIRC the space for a second track has since been used for utility pipes, etc. A second road bridge would allow these to be easily reconfigured although if the will was there then I imagine it might well be possible to find solutions without it.
One option might be for a second railway line to be built on what is now the road with one half of the space used for a new railway line and the other half converted into a cycle/walkway.

Or two railway lines could be built on the current road section with the bottom section being used as the cycle/walkway.
The problem with either plan is there's no real need to double-track the bridge. The only place being served on the island side is Caergybi/Holyhead and there's not really enough traffic to make it worth double-tracking.
as of now, that's true but if the line to Llangefni and Amlwch ever gets reopened, and it's not out of the question, then this would very much increase the need for the line across the bridge to be double tracked.

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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by wrinkly » Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:13

Cornwall has eight times the population of Anglesey, five times the land area and several branches off its main line railway, but gets by with the single-track Royal Albert Bridge.
Last edited by wrinkly on Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:20, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by ForestChav » Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:16

wrinkly wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:13
Cornwall has eight times the population of Anglesey, four times the land area and several branches off its main line railway, but gets by with the single-track Royal Albert Bridge.
And also the A39 on the north coast and a dual carriageway A30 coming in off the M5 which takes the bulk of the traffic, along with seemingly other less major routes...

Anglesey has 2 bridges, one of whom is a 200 year old suspension bridge (or so) with a weight limit.
C, E flat and G go into a bar. The barman says "sorry, we don't serve minors". So E flat walks off, leaving C and G to share an open fifth between them.

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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by wrinkly » Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:27

Sorry, I should have quoted Rillington's post. I was replying to the suggestion that reopening a branch railway on Anglesey might create a requirement for a second track over the Menai strait.

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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by Chris Bertram » Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:52

wrinkly wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:13
Cornwall has eight times the population of Anglesey, five times the land area and several branches off its main line railway, but gets by with the single-track Royal Albert Bridge.
Yes, "gets by". It's a constraint on the service, no question about it, but without building another bridge, they're stuck with it, no chance of double-tracking it.
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Re: Third Menai Crossing (consultation)

Post by Rillington » Tue Sep 28, 2021 17:54

wrinkly wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 19:27
Sorry, I should have quoted Rillington's post. I was replying to the suggestion that reopening a branch railway on Anglesey might create a requirement for a second track over the Menai strait.
and i guess it's question of how likely this is and i think it's worthy of a discussion in its own thread.

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Re: Menai Straits Crossing - what's needed?

Post by Chris_533976 » Sat Oct 02, 2021 13:53

Osthagen wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 16:39
Chris_533976 wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 21:02
This has always been my solution. Maybe a bit pricy.

Build a COMPLETELY IDENTICAL LOOKING bridge right next to it. Match it as perfectly as possible. Build it to modern standards, of course.

Run eastbound traffic on one bridge, westbound on the other.

There you go. No problem with it effecting the look of the old bridge and the area.
Or do one better, and build a more attractive bridge. Enhance the look of the area.
That would be nice. But that'll involve a whole raft of other issues. I think building an identical second bridge would be easier to get away with.

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