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First stage of Barmouth bridge work complete

WORK to upgrade a Welsh viaduct which came close to being destroyed by a wood-boring marine worm has reached the end of its first stage.

The £25 million upgrade to the bridge across the Mawddach Estuary at Barmouth on the west coast of Wales involves replacing more than 1,000 timber and metal elements which are rotting or decaying, and also renewing the 820m of track which it carries.

Network Rail is replacing life-expired and damaged parts on a ‘like for like’ basis, to maintain the traditional appearance of the viaduct.

Wales & Borders route director Bill Kelly said: ‘The restoration of Barmouth viaduct will help us protect our industrial heritage and make sure this vital transport link can continue to serve local people and visitors in the future.

‘We have been planning this work for years and I am delighted that the first stage of the upgrade has now been completed. A project of this scale is never without challenges, but more so this year and I am proud of our team for getting the work done safely, following Government guidelines, during the Covid-19 pandemic.’

The viaduct was previously rescued by British Rail in the mid-1980s after the destructive effects of teredo shipworms had been recognised. Even so there were fears for a while that the structure would have to be abandoned, which would have severed the Cambrian Coast line to Pwllheli.

The Network Rail teams will start work on the second stage of the restoration next year.

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