Thursday, 21 March 2013

Bridge over the River Dwyryd

End of an era.....
One of Snowdonia's most well-loved, and historic, bridges is just a short hop from the Oakeley Arms in Maentwrog. Pont Briwet, or Briwet Bridge, provides a quick crossing over the River Dwyryd between Penrhyndeuraeth on the northern side and Harlech on the southern side.
Pont Briwet
Image by Anonymous via Wikimedia Commons
The grade II listed wooden bridge has stood proudly across the river for over 150 years. Before that, the only way to make the crossing and avoid the lengthy 8 mile journey around the estuary was to cross the dangerous tidal flats on foot or by boat. The journey was often a perilous one, with quicksands, fast tides and strong currents to deal with.
But in 1860 Pont Briwet was constructed across the river, and as well as a safe route for  passengers on foot and horseback, the bridge provided a speedy railway link between the western coast of Wales and the towns along the Llyn Peninsula.
However, work will soon be underway to construct a new bridge. The £19.5 million project is due to start, with the current iconic bridge sadly earmarked for demolition. The new bridge will carry a single train track as well as two lanes for car traffic, to replace the current single lane. The new bridge will also be stronger and able to carry buses, lorries and HGVs, which the old bridge isn't able to do. Travel links will be greatly improved, as well as response times for emergency vehicles.
Pont Briwet is currently privately owned, and so a toll of 50p applies to car traffic. The toll won't apply when the new bridge is up and running, and one thing we won't miss is scrabbling about in the glove-box for 10 pence pieces. But one thing we will miss is the striking and historic wooden bridge welcoming us across the estuary. The iconic bridge will be sorely missed by locals and visitors alike.

Pont Briwet at sunset
Image by OLU via Wikimedia Commons

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