The final stage of the Barmouth Viaduct upgrade project has just been awarded to local contractors Alun Griffiths, which will see the corroded metal elements of the viaduct replaced in 2022. The local civil engineering contractor was also awarded the contract for the timber replacement work in 2021 and 2021, and half of its workforce is already living in the Barmouth area. Network Rail will be spending money locally wherever possible when sourcing workers, as well as investing locally in supplies and materials for projects to support the Barmouth community.
Tim James, Rail Director at Alun Griffiths, said “as a Welsh civil engineering contractor, we are delighted to be designing and delivering the upgrade of the steel section of bridge which follows on from our upgrade of the timber section of bridge." He added, “we are local to the area, and we are proud to be delivering this project which brings economic, social and transport benefits for the area”.
The benefits of the scheme to the local economy have been determined using the Welsh Government Community Benefits Tool, which looks at the value an investment can produce locally through the supply chain. It is estimated that for every £1 spent with Alun Griffiths, the local economy will see a return of £1.95, close to double the original amount.
Gareth Yates, Network Rail Project Manager, said “it’s fantastic to see the progress our teams have already made on the restoration of the iconic viaduct, and we look forward to continuing to work with Alun Griffiths on the final stage of the work.”
In 2020, 1 thousand timber elements were replaced as part of the £30m restoration project on the historic bridge, which is now over 150 years old. Work will start in September 2021, and Network Rail and Alun Griffiths will continue to replace the rotting timber elements of the bridge, as well as 452 timber beams.
The Project Manager added, “Barmouth Viaduct is the largest timber bridge still in use. It’s really important that we do we all we can to preserve the structure so that it can continue being used as a key transport link for local people and visitors for generations to come.”
The final stages of the development will be underway in 2022, when the corroded steel parts of the viaduct will be replaced, and the swing bridge elements will also be retained, alongside 820m of track being replaced.