WORK on the new Dyfi Bridge could start next year after delays due to the coronavirus crisis.

In January, a £46m scheme to redevelop the bridge on the A487 north of Machynlleth, was given the go-ahead by the Welsh Government.

Work on the scheme was due to start in the summer before the pandemic struck, but a revised construction schedule is now being planned with the contractors.

The work is intended to improve road safety, strengthen links between communities, provide active travel opportunities and build resilience against flooding, as well as improve transport connectivity to help stimulate further economic development locally.

Montgomeryshire MS Russell George has been in contact with Transport Minister Ken Skates to get an update on where the project is at.

Mr George said: "Urgent progress needs to be made on the construction of the new Dyfi Bridge at Machynlleth.

County Times: Russell George AM..Picture by Phil Blagg..PB373-2019.Russell George AM..Picture by Phil Blagg..PB373-2019.

"After raising the matter with the Transport Minister, he has informed me that an announcement on the start of construction works will be made soon.

"The Dyfi Bridge was never designed to carry the current volume of traffic. The road is also often closed due to frequent flooding causing traffic to take a diversion of up to 30 miles. it is so important that work starts at the earliest opportunity."

He added: "Work on construction was due to start in 2020, but sadly there has been a delay with additional time being required to plan the construction works with Covid-19 regulations in place.

"I can’t stress how important it is to improve the reliability of crossing the River Dyfi and to improve access to key services including employment opportunities, healthcare and education for the people of Machynlleth and the surrounding area.”

County Times: Dyfi Bridge, Machynlleth..Picture by Phil Blagg..PB492-2019-2.Dyfi Bridge, Machynlleth..Picture by Phil Blagg..PB492-2019-2.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Good progress is being made on the detailed design of the scheme. Construction was due to start in the summer following completion of the statutory process but due to the Covid-19 regulations in place, additional time has been required to plan the work.

“We are working closely with Alun Griffiths Contractors to agree and finalise a revised construction programme.”

The current Dyfi Bridge is a 19th century stone narrow bridge with poor visibility and no footways. The river Dyfi frequently floods, severing communities on either side of the bridge, with these incidents likely to increase because of climate change. The bridge’s closures can impact on the community’s ability to access key services such as healthcare, education and public transport in Machynlleth and beyond.

This new development will be a viaduct across the floodplain and a river bridge across the Afon Dyfi approximately 480m upstream of the existing bridge. The project will support the Welsh Government’s work on the mid-Wales Growth Deal which is currently being developed.

The scheme will include traffic calming and improved drainage on the A493 immediately north of the bridge to protect the existing cottages, and there will be a flood bund constructed to protect the Dyfi Eco Park from river flooding.