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Penmaenbach Tunnels

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Penmaenbach Tunnels
Twnelau Penmaen-bach
Location Map ( geo)
Penmaen-bach Tunnel, East - Geograph - 1285922.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (14)
From:  Conwy Morfa
To:  Dwygyfylchi
Highway Authority
Welsh Government
Opening Date
1932 (eastbound), 1989 (westbound)
Additional Information
Tunnel Type:  Bored Tunnel
On road(s)
Crossings related to the A55

The A55 trunk road passes through the Penmaenbach headland, between Conwy and Penmaenmawr, by means of two tunnels.

The two road tunnels and railway tunnel

The shorter tunnel, now normally used by eastbound traffic, was built in 1932. The longer tunnel, normally used by westbound traffic, was built in the late 1980s as part of the dualling of the A55 from Chester to Bangor (later extended to Holyhead).

Because the approaches to the 1932 tunnel are poorly aligned, the 1989 tunnel was designed to allow a new longer eastbound tunnel to be built alongside it at some future date.

There is also a parallel 19th-century railway tunnel.

To the seaward side of the 1932 tunnel is a pedestrian and cycle route which is the remains of Telford's original road, which formed the A55 before construction of the 1932 tunnel.

The 1932 Northern Tunnel

The 1932 road tunnel (as well as the railway tunnel)

The 565 foot long tunnel was opened on 17 December 1932 by Richard Williams, County Council Chairman. It was built to solve the problem of falling rocks from Conwy Mountain on the original road and was the longest road tunnel in Great Britain at the time. Contractor was M.A. Boswell of Wolverhampton, cost £52,816.

It was illuminated from the start. The Portland stone pillars at the entrance were designed by H.C. Bradshaw, secretary of the Fine Arts Commission. The county coat of arms and motto, Eryrod Eryri, above the arch was carved by Gilbert Ledbury, A.R.A.

Originally used for two-way traffic, it became the eastbound carriageway after the South tunnel was opened in 1989.

The 1989 Southern Tunnel

The 1989 tunnel eastern portal

The 660m tunnel was opened in June 1989. It was designed by consultant Travers Morgan and built using the drill and blast method by Balfour Beatty. The contract had been let at £10.9 million but the final cost increased to around £25 million due to difficult ground conditions. Work had begun in 1986. It was used for westbound traffic.

Penmaenbach Tunnels
Related Pictures
View gallery (14)
A55 near Penmaenmawr - Coppermine - 21754.jpgA55 Penmaenmawr Tunnel Westbound - Coppermine - 16306.jpgA55 Westbound - Coppermine - 4624.JPGA55 Eastbound - Coppermine - 4620.JPGPenmaen-bach tunnel approach on A55 from east - Geograph - 1444722.jpg

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