The Welsh Government has forwarded a myth-based concept for the new Menai Strait bridge to its consultants, following a popular public reception and petition to have the unique design considered.
Plans for a new bridge over the Menai Strait including a giant statue of an ancient Welsh king have been accepted for consideration by the Welsh Government following a groundswell of support online.
The design featuring a giant statue of Bendigeidfran, an ancient Welsh king featured in the Mabinogion tales, has been forwarded to project consultants Aecom and Knight Architects.
Benji Poulton, a chartered civil engineer with Mott McDonald from Bangor in north-west Wales who came up with the design told New Civil Engineer that he was “underwhelmed” by the designs submitted to the Welsh Government.
He argued that the new bridge should “enhance the landscape” in the same way the other two existing Menai Strait bridges did.
In the tale that inspired Poulton, the giant Bendigeidfran waded across the Menai strait on his way to Ireland to save his sister. When the Irish burned the bridges, he lay his body over a great river to allow his men to cross, uttering “A fo ben, bid bont” (“He who would be a leader, let him be a bridge”).
Poulton suggested the statue could be constructed as a façade around the cental split bridge support, or entirely structural.
The minister for economy and transport Ken Skates said that it would be among plans considered by the designers.
“Consultants Aecom and Knight Architects are currently assessing and developing concepts of bridge designs which best fit within the Menai bridge landscape and consultations on these options with the Design Commissioner for Wales is ongoing,” Skates said.
“The appropriateness of incorporating sculptures into bridges, such as Mr. Poulton’s Pont Bendigeidfran, forms part of this assessment.”
Skates has passed on Polton’s details to the design team.
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