Barmouth viaduct restoration extended to take advantage of lockdown

Work on the Barmouth viaduct was originally planned to take place in three phases over three years.

Network Rail’s £25 million restoration of the Barmouth viaduct is to be accelerated by extending works for an additional 48 hours during Wales’ firebreak lockdown.

Over 150 years old, the viaduct is now in poor condition. Many of the timber elements of the viaduct have decayed significantly over time and a large proportion of the metallic elements have corroded.

The first phase of work will be extended by 48 hours to take advantage of Wales’ firebreak lockdown.

The restoration of the viaduct is being carried out in a way that doesn’t threaten its industrial heritage and its Grade II listed status. This means that components are being replaced on a ‘like-for like’ basis, so that the viaduct retains its magnificent appearance.

The work had been carefully planned to take place over three years, with three shorter full closures of the viaduct, rather than one longer full closure.

Thomas Bartlett of Network Rail describes the work to be carried out on Barmouth viaduct. (Recorded 16 October 2020)

However, with the firebreak lockdown resulting in fewer people travelling at present, and the construction site set up with the necessary people and equipment, Network Rail has agreed with Transport for Wales that the works will continue for a further 48 hours to allow restoration work to progress on the timber spans. As a result, the railway and the footbridge will remain closed until the early hours of Wednesday 4 November.

Kevin Collins, Network Rail.

Network Rail’s route delivery director for Wales and Borders, Kevin Collins, explained: “Our £25 million refurbishment of Barmouth Viaduct is the biggest in this iconic bridge’s history. We have carefully planned our work and it is all on track.

“However, the firebreak lockdown creates an opportunity to deliver more work, more efficiently and, most importantly, at a time when it will impact less people. The decision to continue work for another 48 hours means that replacement transport will continue to be provided by Transport for Wales until Wednesday morning (04 November).

“We know some pupils returning to school will be affected by this extension, so we are supporting Transport for Wales who are working closely with the relevant schools and the local authority.”

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