Glyn Bends, Ty Nant

From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ty Nant Cutting
Location Map ( geo)
A5 Ty Nant 2009.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (9)
Scheme Type
Construction Start Date
Opening Date
Mid 1996
On road(s)

The Glyn Bends were located on the A5 near Ty Nant in North Wales. In 1994 work started to bypass this section of the A5 with a new cutting to the North, which opened in 1996.

Telford's route

The now closed off section of the Glyn Bends

Thomas Telford constructed the original route between London and Holyhead in 1819, including this section of what became the main A5 trunk route alongside the Afon Ceirw. The original route was only 6 metres wide with very sharp bends, hugging the mountainous terrain. By 1989, upon inspection of the route, concerns were raised regarding the stability of the rocks alongside the route and in some areas the retaining walls had started to fail.

1990s cutting

Construction of the new cutting
The commemorative plaque.

The Glyn Bends were identified in the 1970s as a priority for improvement, due to the narrowness of the route and considerable lack of forward visibility. It was decided that a northern route bypassing the section would be preferable. Construction started in 1994 to create a 31 metre deep cutting through the hillside, and to the south the route was on an embankment 18 metres high. Because of the gradient involved a crawler lane was constructed in the Holyhead direction. 255,000 cubic metres of rock were removed to create the cutting.

During blasting periods the A5 was closed to traffic, though this was for never more than twenty minutes at a time. The new route opened to traffic in 1996, with much of the old route being abandoned and gated.

On the 24th July 1996, a plaque was unveiled on the abandoned route by Mr Gwilym Jones MP, commemorating completion of the Ty Nant upgrade.

The left hand plaque reads "Mr Gwilym Jones MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales unveiled this plaque on 24 July 1996 to commemorate the completion of the A5 Ty Nant to Dinmael improvement"

The right hand plaque reads "At this place George Borrow stood in 1854 and enjoyed ' of the wildest and most beautiful scenes imaginable....'"

2000s instability

The closure of the cutting in 2006

From 15 August 2005, temporary traffic lights were installed through the cutting because of work to stabilise the rock face. By 9pm Friday 27 May 2006, just before the bank holiday weekend, the A5 was fully closed through the cutting due to the concerns of rock stability. Plans were set in motion to reopen the former Glyn Bends route to light traffic, though needing work itself, having been closed to traffic for 10 years. The local councillor, Alun Pugh said "There could have been a catastrophic failure at any time and you would literally get hundreds of tonnes of rock coming all over the road and there could have been multiple fatalities so I don't think Andrew Davies had any choice whatsoever." Following agreements with landowners, the old route was finally reopened on Friday 16 June 2006 using temporary traffic lights with a weight restriction of 7.5 tonnes. The cutting was reopened in July 2007 but work was not complete until the following October.


The map below shows the road layout during 2006 when traffic was diverted onto the old route to allow for repairs in the cutting. The red line highlights Telford's route.


BBC News

SABRE forum topics


Y topleft.gifY topright.gif

This page was Article of the Month for June 2009

Y btmleft.gifY btmright.gif

Glyn Bends, Ty Nant
Related Pictures
View gallery (9)
A5 Glyn Bends 2009.jpgA5 Ty Nant 2009.jpgA5 Ty Nant 2007.jpgTy Nant cutting opening plaque 1.jpgTy Nant cutting opening plaque 3.jpg

SABRE - The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts
Discuss - Digest - Discover - Help