The biggest bridge of its kind in Britain has been lifted into place by Jones Bros, marking the start of a project that will save walkers, cyclists and horse riders from making and eight mile round trip.
The 50m steel Vierendeel bridge has been installed in Tywyn, Gwynedd, and once completed will provide residents with a direct route over Afon Dysynni.
The construction will also span a missing link in the Welsh Coastal Path project, a tourism scheme to create a 870 mile path for walkers and cyclists around the Welsh coastline.
Hefin Lloyd-Davies, project manager for the new bridge, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract to develop the Wales coastal pathway, which is an important project that the town of Tywyn fully deserves and it will open up the area.
“We have a great track record in Tywyn, as we have had numerous schemes in the town and have developed a really positive relationship with the townsfolk, businesspeople, local politicians and Gwynedd Council who we are working closely with.”
Engineers took under two hours to install the new structure, watched by a crowd of hundreds of Tywyn residents who have waited more than 40 years for a new route across the river after the previous bridge was dismantled in the 1960s.
Councillor John Wyn Williams, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for the Welsh Coastal Path, said: “I’m very proud to see that the work is starting and very much hope that the new bridge will enhance people’s enjoyment of the coast here in Gwynedd.
Further work on the four-part 3.5m wide construction, funded by Gwynedd Council and transport consortium TRACC (Trafnidiaeth Canolbarth Cymru), which features a hardwood and rubber decked surface, will take place on site over the next month.