A55

The one driving rule that gets ignored all over the UK every day

The Highway Code is a set of rules that tells us what we can and can't do on the roads. If you break these rules, you could be stopped by the police, fined and get points on your licence.

Some driving offences are well-known and obvious, like speeding or running red lights. But some aren't as clear and often get ignored. There's one driving rule that gets ignored all over the country every day. It's so common that, in reality, the police can't do much about it. This rule is, of course, middle-lane hogging, reports WalesOnline.[1]

If you drive on the motorway regularly, you'll probably see this most days - you might even do it yourself without realising it's wrong. It's easier to spot when the traffic is light. You might see cars travelling alone in the second or third lanes for no reason. It can be annoying when it's quiet, but when it's busy it can cause frustration and add to the traffic.

This is because drivers wanting to pass these vehicles should, according to the code, move into outside lanes to get past them (undertaking is seen by the code as dangerous). As cars change lanes to overtake then, this causes traffic to build up. For instance, someone wanting to overtake a vehicle sat in the third lane of a four-lane motorway will have to move all the way to the outside lane in order to overtake them in the manner the Highway Code says they should.

It's easy to see how congestion will build up at busier times, with all the braking, checking and switching lanes - the thing many drivers enjoy doing least on a motorway. It disrupts the smooth flow of traffic we all hope for on motorways.

Anyone not familiar with the Highway Code may think they have the right to drive where they like on the motorway but this is not the case. Drivers should always stay on the inside lane on motorways when they are not overtaking another vehicle, except for when moving over to allow other vehicles onto the motorway at slip roads, for example.

This rarely happens in reality and it's common to see busy outside lanes even when cars are not overtaking others. I see it almost every time I go on the motorway, meaning it's a law that is very often ignored and possibly not even known by many.

And there's not a lot that can be done about it. The police might try to show they mean business by catching some drivers, as they did with this driver, but they don't have enough people to watch all the cars on the roads, so many will just keep on doing it.

The RAC, a group for drivers, says the same thing, as Birmingham Live reports[4]: "The new fixed penalties (introduced in 2013) were intended to reduce the number of people lane-hogging and carrying out other acts of careless driving on UK motorways, but it's still prevalent today."

They argue that there aren't enough traffic police to catch drivers who persistently hog the middle lane, and this behaviour can't be detected by cameras like speeding can. They believe education is more effective than punishment in preventing this issue. They also stated: "If learner drivers were given practical lessons in lane discipline, this would help reduce the number of lane-hoggers."

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References

  1. ^ reports WalesOnline. (www.walesonline.co.uk)
  2. ^ Man taken to hospital after being struck by vehicle on Anglesey (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ Conwy farmer Gareth Wyn Jones may 'rethink' use of social media after latest death threat (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  4. ^ as Birmingham Live reports (www.birminghammail.co.uk)
  5. ^ The North Wales Live Whatsapp community for top stories and breaking news is live now - here’s how to sign up (www.dailypost.co.uk)

Section of A55 closed near Chester following a collision involving a lorry

Deeside.com > News

Posted: Mon 19th Feb 2024

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Update: The latest traffic report for the area states: “A55 Westbound blocked, long delays due to overturned lorry between J40 A51 Tarvin Road (Vicars Cross Interchange) and J39 A41 (Sainsbury’s / Boughton Heath Roundabout).”

“Congestion to back onto the M53 to the junction with the M56 J15, also slow on the A51 approaching J40. Affecting traffic passing Chester towards North Wales, sensors indicate traffic can pass eastbound.”

Earlier report: The A55 has been brought to a standstill near Chester following a collision involving a small lorry.

The collision happened near junction 39, Caldy Valley.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed their presence at the scene, with the road closed in both directions as emergency services deal with the incident.

According to traffic sensors the road is closed eastbound from the Posthouse roundabout, and closed westbound from junction 40.

Motorists planning to travel through this key route are advised to avoid the area entirely and seek alternative routes to their destinations.

A traffic report for the area states:

“Road blocked and queueing traffic due to collision, a lorry involved on A55 both ways between J38 A483 Wrexham Road (Posthouse Roundabout) and J40 A51 Tarvin Road (Vicars Cross Interchange). Affecting traffic passing Chester through Huntington.”

#RoadClosure A55: Emergency services are currently at the scene of a collision involving a small lorry on the A55 Caldy Valley, Chester. The road is closed in both directions, please avoid the area if possible. More information on our website soon https://t.co/IyKUiM4xxa pic.twitter.com/2Jnl92tmwJ[1][2][3]

— Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (@CheshireFire) February 19, 2024[4]

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References

  1. ^ #RoadClosure (twitter.com)
  2. ^ https://t.co/IyKUiM4xxa (t.co)
  3. ^ pic.twitter.com/2Jnl92tmwJ (t.co)
  4. ^ February 19, 2024 (twitter.com)
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A55 closed by Chester in both directions after collision leaves lorry on its side

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service says emergency services have been deployed to the incident near Caldy Valley, by Junction 39 (Sainsbury's Roundabout).

Traffic is building up in both directions, with congestion on the eastbound carriageway as far back as the Posthouse Roundabout (Junction 38) and westbound tailbacks as far back as the M56 interchange on the M53 motorway (junction 11).

North West Motorway Police report an HGV is on its side between the Tarvin Roundabout A51 down to the slip road with the A41.

Motorists are being advised to expect delays and seek alternative routes if possible.

A55 closed by Chester in both directions after crash

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service says emergency services have been deployed to the incident near Caldy Valley, by Junction 39 (Sainsbury's Roundabout).

Traffic is building up in both directions, with congestion on the eastbound carriageway as far back as the Posthouse Roundabout (Junction 38) and westbound tailbacks as far back as the M56 interchange on the M53 motorway (junction 11).

North West Motorway Police report an HGV is on its side between the Tarvin Roundabout A51 down to the slip road with the A41.

Motorists are being advised to expect delays and seek alternative routes if possible.

Lorry Collision on A55 Near Chester Causes Major Traffic Chaos

The serene flow of life and traffic near Chester was disrupted abruptly when a lorry collided on the A55, leading to an unforeseen halt in the daily commute of hundreds. This incident, occurring near junction 39 at Caldy Valley, has not only put the spotlight on road safety but also significantly affected the rhythm of travel in the area. The collision, which took place early in the morning, saw emergency services responding swiftly, aiming to restore normalcy as quickly as possible.

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Immediate Response and Traffic Advisory

In the wake of the collision, the Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service was among the first on the scene, showcasing their readiness and efficiency in managing such emergencies. The impact of the crash led to the closure of the A55 in both directions, a major route that facilitates the movement of people and goods across the region. Specifically, the closure extends from the Posthouse roundabout to junction 38 A483 Wrexham Road eastbound, and from junction 40 A51 Tarvin Road to the Vicars Cross Interchange westbound. The advice to motorists was clear and immediate: seek alternative routes and expect delays. The urgency and seriousness of the situation were palpable, reflecting the authorities' commitment to safety and swift action.

The Ripple Effects on Traffic and Commuters

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The aftermath of the collision was not just a test of the emergency services’ response but also a moment of resilience for the daily commuters and the local community. Blocked roads and queuing traffic became the day's reality, especially around Huntington, as travelers navigated the sudden disruption. The ripple effects of the incident reached far, affecting not just those directly on the A55 but also altering the plans and schedules of countless others. The community's patience and cooperation were paramount, as the situation called for a collective effort to minimize the disruption's impact.

Looking Ahead: Traffic Management and Safety Measures

As efforts to clear the site and reopen the road to traffic continued, the incident served as a stark reminder of the unpredictability of road travel and the importance of road safety measures. It underscores the need for constant vigilance, both from the authorities managing road safety and from drivers themselves. The situation on the A55 near Chester is a call to action, prompting a review of traffic management strategies and safety protocols to prevent such incidents in the future. The community's resilience and the emergency services' response highlight the capacity to manage and overcome such challenges, striving for a safer and smoother travel experience for all.

In the aftermath of today's disruption, the story of the A55 collision is more than just a traffic report; it is a narrative of community, resilience, and the ongoing quest for safety on our roads. As the situation evolves, the focus remains on restoring normalcy and learning from the incident to foster a safer travel environment for everyone.

‘Alarming decisions’ facing Wales about what and where it can defend from flood waters

Wales's climate change minister says 'alarming decisions' will have to be made over what and where is defended from flooding in Wales. The Welsh Government's Flood and Coastal Erosion Committee met at the end of last year.

The committee was addressed by climate change minister Julie James, with the minutes from the meeting released this week. In a question and answer session Jeremy Parr, head of Flood and Incident Risk Management at Natural Resources Wales (NRW), highlighted the challenges of adaptation and resilience, versus limited public funding.

In response Ms James said they needed to spend money on the things that made the biggest difference. But she made clear tough decisions would be needed as sea water levels rise and severe weather[1] incidents increase.

According to the minutes, she said: "We need a consensus view on where to focus – in future, we will face increasingly alarming decisions on what/where to defend. The disconnect in some LAs(local authorities) between flood officers and economic planners is concerning."

She added that "we need to figure out a defence programme for specific areas and in some cases we will need to make difficult decisions". She added: "We need to ensure we spend money on the things that make the most difference, and we use expert groups such as this to advise and ensure money is spent well."

The minister said Wales needed a robust nationwide plan that would help people understand what the decision-making process is and what the criteria are.

She added: "We need as robust a plan as possible and achieve consensus, as we will not always be able to protect all communities around the coast of Wales – the Flood and Coastal Erosion Committee is important in putting strategic plans in place alongside WG. If we can get the infrastructure plans in place in Wales over the next ten years, then people will be able to use them for adaptation and will outlive political terms and enable long-term planning. We need to have space to have conversations around the plan and have a consultation plan which we will need to put in place over the coming years. Communities will need to embrace resilience."

Mr Parr highlighted the importance of building resilience into properties and making space for water as "we cannot afford to defend everywhere all of the time".

The villagers of Fairbourne in Gwynedd[4] were once tipped to be the UK's first 'climate refugees'. This tag came when Cyngor Gywnedd said in 2014 it would not maintain flood defences indefinitely as global sea levels rose.

But speaking last year the minster was adamant that the village had not been written off but accepted there were difficult decisions ahead - not just at Fairbourne but potentially other parts of Wales too.

The parts of North Wales at greatest risk of flooding now and in the future have been highlighted by NRW.[5]

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Find out what's happening on the roads near you

References

  1. ^ weather (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  2. ^ Locations of mobile speed cameras in North Wales for January 2024 and update on 20mph enforcement (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ What we know about A55 seven vehicle crash in Denbighshire which sparked major delays (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  4. ^ Gwynedd (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  5. ^ and in the future have been highlighted by NRW. (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  6. ^ Join the North Wales Live Whatsapp community now (www.dailypost.co.uk)

Multiple vehicles and lorry involved in crash that blocked major road

The A55 was closed this morning following a crash that involved multiple vehicles and a lorry.

A complete closure was in place between J29 and J30 in Conwy on the eastbound side of the carriageway. The incident happened at around 8am this morning.

One lane remained closed until around 10.20am in order to allow for the incident to be completely cleared. According to North Wales Fire and Rescue service, seven vehicles were involved in the crash.

The Welsh Ambulance Service said it received a call from the police at 8.08am, with initial reports of an "entrapment". An ambulance, duty operational manager and specialist RRV were sent to the scene. According to the service, four vehicles were involved. There was no "entrapment" when they arrived. Casualties were out of vehicles and "walking about " at the scene, with one person injured.

LIVE: A55 crash, six vehicles and lorry involved as motorists face major delays

A section of the A55 has been blocked after a crash involving six vehicles and a lorry, in Conwy.

Traffic Wales warned of the closure between J29 Rhuallt and J30 Pant y Dulath.

The eastbound side of the road is currently blocked causing heavy congestion.

This is a breaking news story and we will bring you all the latest as we get it.

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References

  1. ^ Drug-smuggling prison tutor and man who stabbed soldier among criminals locked up in December (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  2. ^ Llandudno's 'little and large' jetties that have survived against the odds (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ Twitter feed @northwaleslive (twitter.com)
  4. ^ facebook.com/northwaleslive/ (www.facebook.com)
  5. ^ Apple devices here (go.skimresources.com)
  6. ^ Android devices here (play.google.com)
  7. ^ WhatsApp community group where you can get the latest stories delivered straight to your phone (www.dailypost.co.uk)

Old North Wales railway becomes jobs vs tourism battleground with millions of pounds at stake

A mothballed railway line along the spine of Anglesey has become a battleground between rival parties with conflicting interests. Both are ardent and motivated – and neither is willing to concede defeat.

Meetings arranged between the two have come to nothing. In a fight for hearts of minds, both hung banners at this year’s Anglesey Show[1] proclaiming their opposing projects. It’s a jobs vs tourism tussle in which both parties believe they hold the upper hand.

The two groups have different ambitions for a disused 17.5-mile railway line between Gaerwen and Amlwch[2]. The Anglesey[3] Central Railway (ACR) closed to passengers in 1964, and to freight services in 1993, and ever since a debate has raged over its use. In the meantime the track has been slowly reclaimed by nature.

Almost everyone agrees the artery is one of Anglesey’s greatest unused assets. Leading the way is Lein Amlwch, a support group for ACR Ltd which for years has campaigned for the rights to clear the route, then host railway services on it. The first goal was achieved in 2012 but clearance work was restricted by the absence of hosting rights. Progress was slow.

Frustrated by the apparent lack of headway, a rival group was set up to campaign for a multi-user track on the same route. Lôn Las Môn, if it materialises, will be for walkers, runners, cyclists and horse riders.

Lein Amlwch is perplexed by the aspirations of the Friends of Lôn Las Môn (FoLLM). “There are hundreds of footpaths and cycle paths on Anglesey already,” said Dave Rogers. “But there is only one railway route potentially servicing the people of north Anglesey.”

In reality, we’ve been here before. A predecessor company, Isle of Anglesey Railways, came close to buying the track only to hit the buffers when British Rail was privatisatised in the mid-1990s. At one point, Anglesey Council[6] was planning to acquire the line.

Lein Amlwch volunteers take a well-earned break from the arduous work of clearing the disused Anglesey Central Railway Lein Amlwch volunteers take a well-earned break from the arduous work of clearing the disused Anglesey Central Railway

Shortly afterwards, cycling charity Sustrans proposed the railway should become a cycle route, similar to the Lôn Eifion cycle route along the former Carnarvonshire Railway. Anglesey Council vacillated, in turn backing each option, but when Lein Amlwch was given the green light to start clearing the track in 2012, the pendulum swung back in favour of rail services.

In April 2021, a tipping point was reached when Lein Amlwch secured a 99-year lease from owner Network Rail[7] for the entire 17.5-mile stretch. It meant group members could start restoration work in earnest, secure in the knowledge the rug wouldn’t be pulled from under their feet. Probably.

This year has seen a surge in progress. Tracks are being cleared towards Llanerchymedd and Llangefni[8] station has re-emerged from a tangle of vegetation. “It is a massive task,” admitted Dave Rogers. “But it’s not an impossible one.

“This is too valuable an asset for Anglesey to be ripped up. We understand that people were unhappy to see it lying dormant for so long. But now that we have the lease, we’re forging ahead and we’re getting more volunteers all the time.”

Map showing the route of the disused Anglesey Central Railway from Amlwch to Gaerwen Map showing the route of the disused Anglesey Central Railway from Amlwch to Gaerwen

Still, no targets have been set, given the reliance on volunteers. As all heritage railways recognise, volunteers are crucial to keeping costs down. It’s for this reason that Lein Amlwch rolled its eyes at an October 2022 study by Transport for Wales[9] (TfW) that estimated restoration costs for ACR at a prohibitive £144.3m for heavy rail, or £93m for light rail.

The £100,000 feasibility study was commissioned by the Welsh Government[10] following a submission to Westminster’s Restoring Your Railways (RYR) scheme, part of Boris Johnston’s Levelling Up agenda. Nearly 200 railway projects were submitted from across the UK for a share of £500m funding. Most fell by the wayside but the bid on behalf of ACR battled through the early rounds.

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A next-stage decision from UK transport minister Huw Merriman was expected in spring 2023. Everyone’s still waiting for it. Dave Rogers is not holding his breath. “We didn’t submit the bid and we’re not pinning our hopes on it.

“If we are awarded funding, it will be received gratefully. But we are also seeking other sources of funding and we aren’t reliant on Restoring Your Railways money.”

Which is probably just as well, given the headline £144.3m price tag cited by TfW. Already eight rail projects are progressing towards RYR funding, likely leaving little in the £500m coffer. Mr Merriman, who visited Anglesey[12] earlier this year, hinted as much when he said he wants to “manage expectations” for those bidding for cash.

Map showing how the the disused Anglesey Central Railway could be re-routed to run along the island's north east coast from Gaerwen to Amlwch. This was one of the shortlisted options put forward by a Transport of Wales feasibility study Map showing how the the disused Anglesey Central Railway could be re-routed to run along the island's north east coast from Gaerwen to Amlwch. This was one of the shortlisted options put forward by a Transport of Wales feasibility study

The TfW study raised the prospect of an even more ambitious idea: an entirely new route between Llangefni and Amlwch running up along the north east coast via Benllech[13] and Moelfre[14]. This shortlisted option caused a sharp intake of breath amongst all involved.

Dave Rogers can see the sense it it - a coastal route would serve a more heavily populated corner of the island. But like most, he recognises it will probably never happen: TfW estimates the cost of a heavy rail coastal route at £531.6m. Even a slower, light rail route would come in at £202.9m.

“You’d need to buy a lot of land for the coastal route,” he said. “With our route, we already have the land. In these times, I can’t see the funding being made available.”

TfW’s analysis of potential rail passenger numbers, for both the inland and coastal routes, suggested a surge in usage if either were funded. Some 125%-135% more people would be able to reach Llangefni within 60 minutes of their homes.

Lein Amwlch sees wider benefits: across North Wales, Anglesey has the region's highest daily outwards movement of people to a neighbouring county (6,616 trips to Gwynedd[15]). With a third Menai crossing now off the agenda, a restored Gaerwen-Amlwch railway, connecting to the North Wales mainline, would ease a lot of commuting headaches.

Alternative sources of funding are being sought and Lein Amlwch remains optimistic. Already there’s talk of hydrogen trains and renewable energy, with facilities powered by trackside solar and wind projects.

An LNWR 2-4-0 'Chopper' at Red Wharf Bay and Benllech station, Anglesey, in 1909. A spur on the Anglesey Central Railway ran to the station from Pentre Berw. It was closed in 1950 An LNWR 2-4-0 'Chopper' at Red Wharf Bay and Benllech station, Anglesey, in 1909. A spur on the Anglesey Central Railway ran to the station from Pentre Berw. It was closed in 1950

Yet TfW’s conclusions made disappointing reading. “In most cases the revenue forecasts are not sufficient to cover the operational expenditure, and therefore would require an ongoing subsidy to cover the deficit,” it said. Only if ACR Ltd ran “infrequent” services could it hope not to make losses, said TfW.

More bad news came with this month’s publication of the North Wales Transport Commission’s final report[16]. On the subject of public finding for the restoration of railways – and ACR specifically – it was a categoric “no”. The same applied to the old Bangor[17] to Porthmadog[18] rail corridor.

Yet the Commission suggested it would be “prudent” to safeguard disused rail routes against future development. This, it said, could be achieved by introducing cheaper long-distance active travel routes, supported by bus services.

“On that basis, we support the creation of an active travel link between Amlwch and Llangefni in line with low carbon modal shift, travel to work and leisure,” said the Commission. Its conclusion was music to the ears of the Friends of Lôn Las Môn (FLLM).

A multi-user path for walkers, cyclists and disabled users. Supporters say such facilities offer myriad benefits A multi-user path for walkers, cyclists and disabled users. Supporters say such facilities offer myriad benefits

The rival concept

Anglesey Central Railway has long been viewed as an ideal candidate for active travel, initially as a cycle route, more recently as a multi-user trail. Lôn Las Môn, a proposed trail, along ACR, was conceived in 2019 and it is now backed by a formidable Friends group with support from around 50 groups and organisations.

Among them is Olympic cyclist and TV presenter Chris Boardman. He wrote in support: “Having visited the island many times, both on a bicycle and as a diver, it is clear that such a facility would be of great benefit to Anglesey residents in terms of active travel, fitness, health, wellbeing and green tourism.”

In a show of force, more than 750 people joined rallies in Llangefni and Amlwch this summer to demonstrate support for the venture. As well as keen walkers, the turn-out included 30 riders on horseback and almost twice as many cyclists. Another rally is planned in Llangefni on April 13, 2024.

The Friends of Lôn Las Môn (FoLLM) believe they have the public on their side: so does Lein Amlwch, and both groups have polling data backing their causes. As things stand, it’s largely academic. Anglesey Central Railway Ltd has a 99-year lease on the line and progress is entirely in its hands.

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Should momentum be lost, however, FoLLM wants Network Rail to invoke “break” clauses in the lease in favour of developing a multi-use path. FoLLM Charity trustee Malcolm Rogers fears funding will always be the railway’s Achilles heel.

“They haven’t got a cat in hell's chance of getting £144.3m,” he said. “That’s a third of the entire Restoring Your Railways fund. They say that, with more volunteers, restoration costs will be much lower, but running railways is expensive too: volunteers on heritage railways typically save only 2% of operating costs.

“We admire their commitment but we worry that in 99 years' time, the line will still be derelict – and that the volunteers will still be chipping away at it.”

The railway line crosses Pont Llyn Cefni Bridge The railway line crosses Pont Llyn Cefni Bridge

If the route is instead adopted as a 17.5-mile multi-user path, it will be one of the longest and “most beautiful” in North Wales, says FoLLM. As well as offering a traffic-free route for walkers and cyclists, it will provide a new bridlepath: over the years, horse riders have long been promised new routes but all have fallen at the first hurdle.

While there are 1,069 km of footpaths on the island, only 12km of bridleways exist. Small wonder that Anglesey’s equine community is firmly behind Lôn Las Môn.

As it offers active travel, the proposal also has the advantage of topping the Welsh Government’s transport[20] planning hierarchy. Supporters believe Lôn Las Môn offers myriad other benefits, not just for health, fitness and wildlife, but also for tourism[21].

Believing it will generate “millions” for the communities it passes through, they cite the Camel Trail in Cornwall, another disused railway of almost identical length. In 2015 it attracted 425,000 visitors, who spent £6.7m and generated around £13m of business turnover.

Based on other UK multi-user trails, FoLLM estimates a conversion cost of £10m. It’s proposing a two-metre-wide Tarmac path for walkers, runners and cyclists, plus a hardened earth path for horse riders. The route may incorporate public art with old railway sleepers repurposed, for example as picnic benches.

It’s envisaged the works will start in Amlwch and progress southwards. FoLLM wanted a “ceremonial start” at the 2025 Island Games on Anglesey but the games have since been cancelled.

Malcolm Rogers said: “We don’t want it to be just a multi-user path. The railway has an important place in the island’s history – it sent people from north Anglesey off to war, many never to be seen again.

“We want to see the railway interpreted and remembered, perhaps with mile marker posts and bits of the track preserved. We’re certainly not against railways – without this track, there will never be a path.”

Before and after pictures showing clearance work undertaken by Lein Amlwch volunteers at Llangefni Station this autumn Before and after pictures showing clearance work undertaken by Lein Amlwch volunteers at Llangefni Station this autumn

Through the sterling efforts of railway volunteers, sections of the line have been cleared already. However long stretches remain overgrown. Infrastructure – sleepers, ballast, drainage and fencing – is in poor repair. Some sections are flooded and, in October 2018, Llangefni’s A5114 railway bridge was demolished following a lorry strike[22]. It’s never been replaced.

Yet FoLLM also faces stiff challenges. Besides clearance work, collapsed cow passes need replacing and river crossings need repairing. Then there’s car parking, regarded as a priority issue.

It’s hoped car parks will be created along the route, perhaps pay-and-display, but this will require permission from landowners, along with rights for bridge on-and-off ramps. It’s a big task that will take an estimated five years to complete.

ACR Ltd has proposed an adjoining multi-user path but FoLLM insists this will never work – it says there simply isn’t enough room. This summer the two parties met to discuss common ground and possible cooperation. It wasn’t a huge success.

One proposal put forward by FoLLM was to split the route: for the section north of Llanerchymedd to be a multi-user path, and for the southern section to be run as a railway. ACR didn’t bite: as the leaseholder, it’s in the driving seat.

The meeting was facilitated by Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie. She’s taking a pragmatic approach, backing both projects[23]. Earlier this year she told the Commons: “Broadly speaking, there are two schools of thought on the line. I believe the line is a huge community asset that is currently untapped, and it should be put to a use that the community supports, be it rail or an active travel path.”

Anglesey councillor Dafydd Rhys Thomas with Menter Môn chair Dr Wyn Morgan on the 15km Lon Las Môn multi-user trail across Malltraeth Marsh Anglesey councillor Dafydd Rhys Thomas with Menter Môn chair Dr Wyn Morgan on the 15km Lon Las Môn multi-user trail across Malltraeth Marsh

The third proposal

Muddying the waters was the formal launch in August 2022 of another plan for a multi-user trail on the island. The result of years of planning, the Glasffordd Môn (Anglesey Greenway) scheme was put forward by development body Menter Môn with the ultimate ambition of creating a cross-island route, from Newborough[24] in the south to Amlwch in the north.

As well as utilising the ACR, this will connect up with the existing 15km Lon Las Cefni trail. This walking and cycling path runs from Newborough in south west Anglesey to Llangwyllog, north of Llyn Cefni. Its northern end runs roughly parallel with ACR’s southern section.

Much of the current focus is on Lon Las Cefni, which needs an upgrade: priorities include a new underpass bridge at Llangefni, improvements to an A55[25] underpass and addressing the path’s “missing link” in Llangefni town centre. Costs for these are estimated at £3.5m.

In contrast to Lon Las Môn, Glasffordd Môn replaces equine usage with a focus on biodiversity[26]. Hence its nickname, the “Anglesey Green Spine” project. Although much of Lein Amlwch is rewilded already, Menter Môn cautions that longer-term plans to incorporate this section will be much more expensive.

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Backing the scheme’s long-term goals is Anglesey councillor Dafydd Rhys Thomas, portfolio holder for highways, waste and property. He said: “It would certainly have the potential to bring much-needed economic benefits to communities in central and north of the island, such as Llannerch-y-medd and Amlwch.

“The economic, health and environmental benefits of these types of projects are well documented. Studies show that for every £1m spent on walking and cycling projects, £13m of benefits are returned to the economy.”

In polling, creating a cross-island path was the most popular idea for future green corridor improvements on Anglesey. However public feedback also suggested disapproval at Glasffordd Môn lack of provision for horse riders.

At this stage, the lack of a bridleway element in initial proposals is not seen as irreconcilable by FoLLM. Indeed, it’s joined Glasffordd Môn’s steering group in the hope of effecting change while benefitting from Menter Môn’s not-inconsiderable muscle power.

“Our ultimate ambition is for a multi-user trail from coast to coast,” said Malcolm Rogers. For this, FoLLM or Glasffordd Môn would also need to develop the “last mile” across the privately-owned former Octel bromine site in Amlwch[28], which the railway formerly served.

Alternatively, he suggested, ACR could itself develop this short section to provide a standalone ride for walkers and tourists. “It would still cost £10m but we could work with them on this final leg,” he said.

Trackside clearance has revealed sleepers in poor condition and ballast in need of repair Trackside clearance has revealed sleepers in poor condition and ballast in need of repair

Economy vs 'playground'

The great tragedy is that both concepts for the old ACR track are equally attractive. Both have their merits, and both have supporters and detractors, roughly deployed on jobs-versus-tourism lines.

On social media, an adjoining landowner was firmly in the multi-user-path camp. “To turn this back into a safe and usable railway – including replacing the missing bridges – will run into millions,” she said.

“It is about time the Welsh Government woke up to the fact that the cost of a usable railway is prohibitive compared to the cost of turning it into a multi-user track that will serve the local people of Anglesey all year as well as the tourists during the season.”

Yet memories of the railway are embedded deep in the psyche of north Anglesey. Amlwch[29] was once the second biggest town in Wales and one former local recalled how ACR connected the area to “the rest of Wales and the world”.

He said: “What the island needs is decent, well-paid jobs, and that comes with good communications - road and rail - that no cycle track would bring. Ynys Môn will have to decide what its priorities are - a playground or a vibrant working community with excellent transport.”

Find out what's happening on the roads near you

References

  1. ^ Anglesey Show (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  2. ^ Amlwch (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ Anglesey (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  4. ^ The most expensive and cheapest postcodes to buy a home in North Wales in 2023 (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  5. ^ The 'fake' Swallow Falls that fooled Snowdonia tourists (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  6. ^ Anglesey Council (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  7. ^ Network Rail (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  8. ^ Llangefni (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  9. ^ Transport for Wales (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  10. ^ Welsh Government (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  11. ^ WhatsApp community group where you can get the latest stories delivered straight to your phone (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  12. ^ Anglesey (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  13. ^ Benllech (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  14. ^ Moelfre (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  15. ^ Gwynedd (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  16. ^ North Wales Transport Commission’s final report (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  17. ^ Bangor (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  18. ^ Porthmadog (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  19. ^ Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  20. ^ transport (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  21. ^ tourism (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  22. ^ was demolished following a lorry strike (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  23. ^ backing both projects (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  24. ^ Newborough (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  25. ^ A55 (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  26. ^ biodiversity (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  27. ^ our Anglesey newsletter (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  28. ^ former Octel bromine site in Amlwch (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  29. ^ Amlwch (www.dailypost.co.uk)

Travel disruption warning as six weeks of roadworks planned for stretch of the A55

Plans have been outlined for repairs to take place on a section of the A55[1]. It is set to bring around six weeks worth of closures that drivers need to know about in advance.

Traffic Wales described the planned work on their website. It will bring disruption and delays to a section on the Wales/England border.

Traffic Wales said: "Essential work to repair and replace the underlying concrete bays and resurface between Junction 36 (Broughton[2]) and the border between England and Wales.

"Works will begin on the eastbound side of the carriageway followed by westbound. Before the main works, junction 36A Broughton Retail Park slip roads will also be repaired and resurfaced."

A timeline has been set out detailing when each stage of the works will go ahead. It also includes what impact will be had on motorists using that section of the busy North Wales Expressway through lane closures.

Preparatory Works:

  • Friday, January 26 to Monday, January 29 - Junction 36A Broughton retail park eastbound on-slip and lane closed overnight from 20:00.
  • Friday, February 2 to Wednesday, February 7 - J36A Broughton retail park westbound off-slip and lane closed overnight from 20:00 – 06:00 on Feb 2, 5 & 6 . A full 24-hour closure will be in place between February 3 and 5 .

Main Resurfacing Works - Eastbound:

Overnight weekday closures, weekend closures and daytime lane closures

  • Sunday, February 11 - Friday, February 23: A55 closed overnight eastbound from junction 36 Warren Interchange to junction 36A Broughton retail park from 8pm to 6am every weekday night.
  • Friday, February 16 to Monday, February 19 - A55 weekend closure eastbound from junction 36 Warren Interchange and junction 36a Broughton retail park. Starting at 8pm and lifting at 6am.
  • Friday, February 23 to Monday, February 25 - A55 weekend closure eastbound from junction 36 Warren Interchange and junction 36a Broughton retail park. Starting at 8pm and lifting at 6am.

  • Monday, February 25 to March 3 - A55 closed overnight eastbound from junction 35 Dobshill to junction 38 Posthouse. Starting at 8pm and lifting at 6am.

Daytime lane closures will be in place between February 12 and March 2 (between 6am and 8pm). The Traffic Wales site did not have specific details of these other than stating: "These dates are subject to change, and are dependent on the weather[5]. Further programme details will be released 2-3 weeks in advance."

Join North Wales Live's WhatsApp community for the latest top stories and breaking news, sent to your phone

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If you don't like the community, you can check out any time you like. To leave, just click on the name at the top of your screen and click 'Exit Group'.

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Click here to join the WhatsApp community.[8]

References

  1. ^ A55 (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  2. ^ Broughton (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ Loving tributes paid to 'bright soul', 18, who died in Bangor tragedy (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  4. ^ North Wales river turns white as thousands of polystyrene balls snag in tree dam (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  5. ^ weather (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  6. ^ all you need to do is click this link and select 'Join Community' (chat.whatsapp.com)
  7. ^ Privacy Notice (www.reachplc.com)
  8. ^ Click here to join the WhatsApp community. (chat.whatsapp.com)

Broken down lorry and crash spark delays on A55

Two incidents saw traffic delays along the A55 this lunchtime.

The first happened at the Penmaenbach headland, between J16A Glan-Yr-Afon Road (Dwygyfylchi) to J17 A547 ( Conwy[1] Morfa) at around 12.25pm. It initially saw one lane blocked and then road was then fully closed in the eastbound direction.

Live traffic reports stated that vehicles were "held briefly for recovery to get into place", sparking up to 40 minute delays this lunchtime (December 11). An ambulance was at the scene but the Welsh Ambulance Service have not been able to confirm details of the incident.

Further down the route, along J15A (Penmaenmawr) to J16 Conway Road (Dwygyfylchi), there were reports of a broken down lorry on on the eastbound section of the expressway. All lanes were re-opened just after 1:25pm.

Join North Wales Live's WhatsApp community for the latest top stories and breaking news, sent to your phone

North Wales Live is now on WhatsApp and would like to invite YOU to join our community. Through the app, we'll send you the latest breaking news and top stories.

To join our community, you need to already have Whatsapp. Then all you need to do is click this link and select 'Join Community'[2].

No-one will be able to see who is signed up and no-one can send messages except the North Wales Live Team. We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions and adverts from us and our partners.

If you don't like the community, you can check out any time you like. To leave, just click on the name at the top of your screen and click 'Exit Group'.

If you’re curious, you can read our Privacy Notice[3].

Click here to join the WhatsApp community.[4]

References

  1. ^ Conwy (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  2. ^ all you need to do is click this link and select 'Join Community' (chat.whatsapp.com)
  3. ^ Privacy Notice (www.reachplc.com)
  4. ^ Click here to join the WhatsApp community. (chat.whatsapp.com)

Queues on A55 in Gwynedd after crash sparks lane closure – recap

A crash sparked delays on the A55. Traffic Wales had warned that a lane was closed on the westbound carriageway.

The crash happened between junction 11 for Llandygai and Junction 10 for Bangor. Delays were not major.

This is a breaking news story. We will bring you all the latest as we get it.

Get all the big headlines, pictures, analysis, opinion and video on the stories that matter to you. If you have some information you can contact us by following our Twitter feed @northwaleslive[3] - the official North Wales Live account - real news in real time.

Or like facebook.com/northwaleslive/[4] - your must-see news, features, videos and pictures throughout the day from the North Wales Live. Don't forget you can also keep up to date with the latest via the free North Wales Live app. Download it for Apple devices here[5] and Android devices here[6].

North Wales Live has launched a WhatsApp community group where you can get the latest stories delivered straight to your phone[7]

References

  1. ^ Sad state of popular Dee Valley attraction overrun with visitors (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  2. ^ 'Overcrowded' HMP Berwyn has 'trashed' cells and drug issues, MP claims (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ Twitter feed @northwaleslive (twitter.com)
  4. ^ facebook.com/northwaleslive/ (www.facebook.com)
  5. ^ Apple devices here (go.skimresources.com)
  6. ^ Android devices here (play.google.com)
  7. ^ WhatsApp community group where you can get the latest stories delivered straight to your phone (www.dailypost.co.uk)

Lorry braking suddenly could have ‘unzipped’ Menai bridge causing …

A lorry performing an emergency stop could have brought down one of the two bridges linking Anglesey[1] to the mainland, engineers have said. Improvements were carried out on Menai Suspension Bridge more than 30 years ago but calculations may have underestimated its load capacity.

The bridge was shut with five minutes’ notice in October 2022. While it reopened in February, with a reduced weight limit, full upgrades are not due to be completed until August 2025.

Its closure was ordered following concerns about the safety of 242 steel hangers that hold up the road deck. Most of these dated back to 1938 when two suspended wooden decks were replaced by a single steel deck.

As part of planned maintenance, all 242 hangers were to be removed for painting off-site. But when engineers began checking old documents – merely to “inform the specification” of this work – to their alarm they discovered “significant concerns” about the bridge’s structural integrity.

Their analysis revealed a ”credible risk of an unzipping failure of the bridge deck”. The engineering team wrote: “Such an event might lead to a catastrophic loss of life and this was considered an unacceptably high-consequence event.” Their conclusions were reported in the magazine of the Institution of Structural Engineers[4], whose first ever president was the bridge's builder, Thomas Telford.

Between 1988-91, load assessments on the bridge were carried out prior to the introduction of 44-tonne vehicles on the UK road network. As no test data existed for the bridge’s 208 spiral strand hangers - the rest were solid steel - four were removed for "testing to destruction".

In all four, sockets holding the spiral strands were found to be brittle. As a result, 25 more hangers were tested, “almost all of which failed by brittle fracture of the socket”.

Engineering concerns focused on the brittle nature of sockets clamping the bridge's suspension wires Engineering concerns focused on the brittle nature of sockets clamping the bridge's suspension wires

Based on this, 11 of the most highly loaded hangers were replaced in 1990. Including those tested, it meant a total of 40 hangers were renewed between 1988-91. “This was deemed sufficient to assess the bridge as capable of carrying full HA traffic loads (normal design loading for roads in Great Britain),” wrote engineers and managers at consultants COWI, UK Highways A55[5] and its contractor, Spencer Bridge Engineering.

Rolling inspections of the hangers were carried out over subsequent years. These did not recommend replacing any more hangers, the Welsh Government[6] has said. It took on responsibility for the bridge in 1999. Maintenance has been carried out by UK Highways A55 since 1998.

North Wales Live has launched a WhatsApp community group where you can get the latest stories delivered straight to your phone[7]

Given modern design standards, brittle steel is rarely encountered by today’s engineers. Although guidance is available for historic bridges, this is for structures with rolled or milled steel, not cast steel like that use for the Menai bridge.

Armed with the historic data, COWI recommended all hangers on the suspension bridge be replaced “at the earliest opportunity”. It also launched a review to assess what would happen if a single hanger failed.

Were this to occur, most of the hanger’s load would then “jump” to the two adjacent hangers, they found. In all models, the adjacent hangers would then fail. The process would then be rapidly repeated, leading to “global unzipping failure of the entire bridge deck”.

When opened in 1826, Thomas Telford's suspension bridge over the Menai Strait had the world's longest span at 176m When opened in 1826, Thomas Telford's suspension bridge over the Menai Strait had the world's longest span at 176m

The team made one other crucial discovery. In the late 1980s, hanger capacity was correctly assessed with an adjustment for “low-temperature ductility”. However the calculation was based only on a “slow loading event”, such as a vehicle driving onto the bridge.

“It did not anticipate rapid loading events such as an HGV performing an emergency stop,” said the engineers. “Furthermore, in the event of the sudden brittle fracture of a socket, the rate of loading of adjacent hangers would be almost instantaneous. Thus the calculated hanger capacity may overestimate the capacity of the hanger in this situation.”

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There were no quick fixes. Getting replacement hangers typically takes 12-18 months. Moreover, no off-the-shelf sockets were compatible with the Menai bridge, so they all had to be custom-made. These will be subtly different from the ones they replace, incorporating modern design codes while being in keeping with the originals.

The Grade I-listed bridge - the world's second oldest vehicular suspension bridge still in use - is due to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2026 The Grade I-listed bridge - the world's second oldest vehicular suspension bridge still in use - is due to celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2026

Prototype sockets cast in India were assembled into hangers and subjected to radiography, ultrasonic and magnetic particle testing in Switzerland. After the prototypes were tried out in situ this summer, they went into full production.

Work to install and paint the hangers began in September[9] and is due to be completed by March 2025. Lane closures will be lifted over the two Christmas periods[10].

In the meantime, COWI and the bridge contractor quickly developed bespoke “secondary fail-safes” (SFS) for all 242 hanger locations. These were designed to take the strain if a hanger failed – and to carry loads when the old hangers were replaced.

Having devised solutions, the engineers said what happened at Menai Suspension Bridge (Pont y Borth) highlights “the importance of high-quality record-keeping and documentation”. Tests carried out 34 years ago helped the team establish current threats based on modern standards.

Find out what's happening on the roads near you

References

  1. ^ Anglesey (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  2. ^ Armed police make arrest after reports of man 'brandishing firearm' (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  3. ^ Anger as rare horse and unborn foal killed by the kindness of ‘ignorant’ stranger (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  4. ^ Institution of Structural Engineers (www.istructe.org)
  5. ^ A55 (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  6. ^ Welsh Government (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  7. ^ WhatsApp community group where you can get the latest stories delivered straight to your phone (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  8. ^ Sign up for the North Wales Live newsletter (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  9. ^ began in September (www.dailypost.co.uk)
  10. ^ lifted over the two Christmas periods (www.dailypost.co.uk)

Fire crews descend on Chester’s historic Rows after Storm Debi …

Fire crews have been called out to Chester's historic Rows today after damage caused by Storm Debi. A number of fascia boards on the Rows on Bridge Street came loose due to the high winds as Storm Debi moves across the country, prompting a 'danger to life' warning from the Met Office.

The fascia boards have blown off and landed on the street. The incident comes as the Met Office has issued warning of the dangers posed by flying debris as the storm rips through much of the country today.

Fire crews on scene cordoned off the area affected as they worked to make it safe for shoppers and visitors to Chester[1]. An aerial ladder platform and supporting fire engine from Chester were called out to the incident.

READ: Met Office issues 'danger to life' warning as Storm Debi poised to batter Cheshire[2] 50mph gales could shut roads, with fears of 'flying debris' across the county

READ: Man airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after being hit by car on A55 in Chester[3] The 42-year-old man was airlifted to Aintree Hospital with serious injuries

A spokesperson for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Firefighters attended to prevent injury to the public from falling debris caused by high winds. They used an aerial ladder platform to safely remove loose fascia boards from a building in Bridge Street, Chester."

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning, with Storm Debi making her presence known in Cheshire and across the north of England. Forecasters warned of wind speeds reaching up to 50mph between 4am and 6pm today (November 13).

Fire crews in attendance after Storm Debi caused damage to fascia boards on the Rows on Bridge Street

And Met Office chiefs fear there may be a 'danger to life from flying debris'. Paul Crofts, who works in the city centre, was passing by when the incident unfolded.

He told CheshireLive: "It looks like the wind has brought down some fascia from the Rows. There was a piece of fascia on the floor. Fire crews are currently in attendance making it safe."

Some of the fascia boards blown off the Rows on Bridge Street due to Storm Debi today Some of the fascia boards blown off the Rows on Bridge Street due to Storm Debi today

Warning of the dangers posed by Storm Debi, a Met Office spokesperson said: "(This is) what to expect: injuries and danger to life from flying debris are possible; some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs, could happen; road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected, with longer journey times and cancellations possible; some roads and bridges may close; power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage; injuries and danger to life could occur from large waves and beach material being thrown onto sea fronts, coastal roads and properties."

NEWSLETTER: Sign up for CheshireLive email direct to your inbox here[4]

References

  1. ^ Chester (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  2. ^ Met Office issues 'danger to life' warning as Storm Debi poised to batter Cheshire (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  3. ^ Man airlifted to hospital with serious injuries after being hit by car on A55 in Chester (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
  4. ^ Sign up for CheshireLive email direct to your inbox here (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)