20 June 2020
28 March 2020
In the early 19th century, Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834) built the A5 road as the main London-to-Dublin mail route. The current ‘Pont Pen-y-benglog’ bridge over the Afon Ogwen was built to replace a difficult, steep section of the earlier coach route at the western end of Llyn Ogwen. The surviving arch of the earlier, medieval pack-horse bridge can be seen below the present one.
25 August 2018
The Mersey Gateway Bridge is a 2.3 km-long, 6-lane, cable-stayed bridge carrying the A533 road over the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. The £600 million bridge links Runcorn and Widnes and is maintained by Halton Borough Council. Construction of the bridge, designed by Knight Architects, commenced in 2014 and it opened in 2017. It was built to relieve congestion on the Runcorn through-arch bridge, which opened in 1961 and was renamed the Silver Jubilee Bridge in 1977. This in turn had replaced a Victorian steam-powered transporter bridge that could convey four cars at a time across the Mersey.
When the new bridge opened the old one was closed for refurbishment and it will reopen as a toll bridge (it was previously free to cross). The tolls on the Mersey Gateway Bridge itself operate using automatic number plate recognition and must be paid online within 24 hours. This has proved to be highly controversial with criticisms of unclear signposting. In the first month 50,000 motorists were issued with penalty charge notices for failure to pay the toll. In 2018 tribunals ruled that the tolls and penalties were in fact in breach of consumer and transport legislation because of improper implementation. The charges continue to be imposed, however, as the rulings were for specific cases and technically do not have general effect.
22 August 2018
Connel Bridge carries the A828 road over Loch Etive and links the villages of Connel and North Connel. The crossing is at the narrowest point of the sea loch at the tidal rapids The Falls of Lora, five miles from Oban. The bridge span between its piers is 160 m.
The Category B listed steel cantilever bridge was designed by English civil engineer John Wolf Barry (1836 – 1918) and was built by Glasgow contractors Arrol’s Bridge & Roof Company, who also constructed the Forth Bridge.
The bridge opened in 1903 to carry the Ballachulish branch line of the Callander and Oban Railway. A roadway was added next to the railway line in 1914 and when the branch line closed in 1966 the bridge was converted for pedestrian and road vehicle use only via a single-track roadway with traffic lights.
Transport Scotland is currently considering options for refurbishment of the structure over the next five years.
17 September 2017
Princess May is one of the two surviving water balances at Penrhyn Quarry; the other is called Sebastopol and has been restored. Originally there were eight at the quarry… [Read more about the water balance and see more photographs from 2011 here]
26 August 2017
Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings was previously featured here in GeoTopoi in December 2011. Since then there have various changes at the site, the most significant being the opening in November 2015 in the converted offices and stables of a Visitor Centre. The opening of the centre is the first phase of a restoration project undertaken by a partnership between Historic England, Friends of Flaxmill Maltings and Shropshire Council. The second phase, which will result in a mixed-use redevelopment of the historic buildings, is proceeding thanks to the subvention of the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Other changes include the demolition of various later structures on the site, such as the massive concrete silos built in the 1950s and 60s (North Silo and South Silo). Public access is currently limited to the Visitor Centre and a small area to the rear of the mill buildings.
25 June 2017
Hydro Ogwen is a community hydro-electric generation scheme on the Afon Ogwen owned and operated by Ynni Ogwen Cyf (Ogwen Energy Ltd), a company established in 2015 to complete the development of the project and to manage it thereafter. The venture was financed by £450k raised via a community share offer and profits are to be distributed for the benefit of the local community.
Family-run contractors Gwyn Roberts Construction, based near Bala, carried out the building work, which started in July 2016 and was mostly completed by March 2017. The 100 kW generator, whose estimated annual output will be 500 MWh, is driven by a turbine fed via a 900 mm diameter pipe buried under the Lon Las Ogwen path with water abstracted from the intake weir, approximately 300 m upstream, just above the waterfalls at Ogwen Bank.
14 May 2017
In 1884 a four-mile-long, single track branch line of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) from Bangor to Bethesda opened to passengers, linking to the Chester and Holyhead main line just outside Bangor. The route included Dinas Tunnel, a 297-yard-long (272 m), single-bore tunnel approached from the Bangor (northern) end through a sheer-faced rock cutting. On exiting the tunnel at the Bethesda (southern) end, the track crossed the Ogwen river over the Bryn Bella Viaduct. Increasing competition from buses led to the closing of passenger services on the branch line in 1951, with the line finally closing to all traffic in 1963.
In 2016 Gwynedd Council set aside £200,000 and secured an additional £230,000 from the Welsh Government in order to develop the disused tunnel so as to open a new section of the Lon Las Ogwen ‘multi-user’ path. This 11-mile-long cycle route follows parts of the trackbeds of the narrow-gauge Penrhyn Quarry Railway and the standard-gauge LNWR branch line and has until now been interrupted by a mile-long detour around the tunnel by road.
The development work was carried out by Trawsfynydd-based contractor G H James and involved: securing the rockface in the cutting; lighting the tunnel; installing safety railings on the viaduct parapets; and clearing and surfacing the path. The new 800-metre-long section of the route opened in May 2017.
27 November 2016
The Horseshoe Pass is located 5 km north of Llangollen at the southern end of the Clwydian mountain range in Denbighshire. The A542 road goes through the pass where it reaches a maximum height of 417 metres (1368 feet).