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Sappers Bridge: River crossing consultation

Summary (optional)
Let us know your thoughts on the proposed active travel river crossing options for Sappers Bridge, Betws-y-Coed.
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This consultation closed on 30 November 2023.

Conwy County Borough Council has secured Levelling Up funding from the UK Government for an active travel route between Betws-y-Coed and Llanrwst.  The project includes a new crossing over the Afon Conwy at the Sappers Bridge location.


What is active travel?

Active travel means making everyday journeys by walking, wheeling or cycling instead of using transport such as cars or buses.  (Wheeling includes using a mobility scooter or wheelchair.)

It is a Welsh Government initiative to encourage healthier travel and reduce traffic congestion.

Active travel includes journeys made to work, school, college, shops and leisure facilities.  An active travel route has to connect to these places and be suitable for everyday journeys.  Active travel does not cover routes that are only used for leisure or recreational purposes.

By upgrading and creating new walking and cycling routes we aim to make active travel the normal way to get around for local journeys.  This cuts down unnecessary traffic and helps families get about safely and sustainably.

To get this right it’s crucial for local people to be involved in the conversation, so that more people feel they can choose walking, wheeling or cycling instead of the car for short local journeys.

About the project

Sappers Bridge is currently closed on safety grounds - the timber deck, deck supports, main suspension cables and towers all need to be replaced.

We have been working on design options for a new bridge to modern standards, which would be accessible to all and suitable and wide enough for pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users, prams and mobility scooters.

Before we move ahead with a final design and a planning application, we want to bring you up to date with the work we’ve carried out so far.  We are sharing the designs and visualisations and asking for the views of the community on proposals for a new or replacement bridge.

The project also includes improved paths either side of the bridge to Old Church Road and the A470.

We are working with Welsh Government on planning the onward route to Llanrwst and we will carry out further consultation on this once designs are complete.

What are the issues?

To make Sappers Bridge safe, the entire bridge needs to be dismantled and rebuilt, or replaced.

There is an existing public right of way that links Old Church Road to the A470.  The path is below the standard for active travel and some parts are very steep and difficult for all users to use.

This scheme will provide an improved active travel route from Old Church Road to the A470, including a new bridge crossing designed to the current active travel design standards.

Proposed work includes

  • A new bridge crossing
  • Widened shared use path for all active travel users
  • A new ramped structure at the eastern end where it meets the A470
  • A new A470 active travel junction


Option 1:  New suspension bridge to replace Sappers Bridge

  • Remove existing Sappers Bridge
  • Active travel compliant

Estimated cost:  £3m

Span:  50m
Clear width:  3.5m
Tower height:  9m


Option 2:  New beam bridge sitting upstream of Sappers Bridge

  • Sappers Bridge remains in place and requires rebuild

Estimated cost:  £2m (new bridge only)
Refurbish/rebuild of Sappers Bridge:  not within current scope of Levelling Up funding grant

Span:  60m
Clear width:  3.5m
Height of parapet above deck:  1.4m


Option 3:  New beam bridge to replace Sappers Bridge

  • Sappers Bridge is replaced by a beam bridge

Estimated cost: £2m

Span:  60m
Clear width:  3.5m
Height of parapet above deck:  1.4m


Option appraisal

Option 1:  New suspension bridge


  • Single bridge for future maintenance
  • Elegant design


  • Construction risk

Option 2:  New beam bridge;  refurbish Sappers Bridge


  • Low construction risk
  • Retains historic structure


  • No budget to refurbish Sappers Bridge
  • High future maintenance costs

Option 3:  New beam bridge to replace Sappers Bridge


  • Lowest cost
  • Lowest risk
  • Lowest maintenance


  • Functional design

What happens next

All the feedback we receive from this consultation will be carefully analysed and considered.  We will provide further information to the public on the chosen final option before we apply for planning permission.

We hope to start construction at the start of 2025 with completion towards the end of the same year.

Accessible options:

We can provide the explanatory text as accessible PDF, large print, easy read, audio recording or braille.  We also offer a BSL interpretation service.

We can provide a verbal description of the route over the phone.  We have a Welsh speaking officer and an English speaking officer available.

Residents can call the ERF Advice Team on 01492 575337 to speak with an officer.  If the officer is not available, we will take your details and arrange a call back.

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