Plans have been released to help soften the blow of the month-long Machynlleth bridge closure.

On 10 February the old Machnylleth bridge will close along with the A493 eastward to the public for 30 days. The new A487 bridge which connects Machynlleth to Corris will be open for use.

Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to access the old bridge throughout the entire month, however no traffic or emergency vehicles will be able to cross until 11 March.

This will mean all vehicles which are west of the old bridge will need to make a significant detour along the coast and back east via Corris, taking approximately one hour.

The 100-metre road closure is to improve drainage systems to the road and protect the Grade 2 listed Dyfi Cottages from future flooding.

The new bridge will connect Machynlleth to Corris with an A road over Afon Dyfi
The new bridge will connect Machynlleth to Corris with an A road over Afon Dyfi (Alun Griffiths Contractors)

Alun Griffiths Contractors is the company working on the road improvements and which built the new bridge.

In a statement released on 22 January they explained why the closure was necessary: "The A493 in front of the cottages is narrow and congested with several underground public utility services including a high-pressure water main, electricity and communication cables. "This limits the available route for the drainage works to the centre of the road.

"A deep excavation is also needed to carry out the drainage improvement work and the safety measures to protect the workforce and public during excavation means that almost the full width of the carriageway is required for the work." To help soften the impact on residents, free return taxis will be on offer from company Mach Taxis for those requiring medical assistance from 8am to 6pm Mon to Fri.

There will be "designated parking arrangements" on the east and west side of the Pont ar Dyfi closure on the north side for people who wish to drive and then walk into town.

School bus disruptions have been kept to a minimum by scheduling the work across the February half term, with work going on seven days a week from 7am to 6pm.

A replacement bus service by Lloyds Coaches replacing the X29/G21 route run will be on offer, though it will require passengers to alight the bus north of the bridge, walk through the site, and board another bus on the other side to continue their journeys.

Trains from Tywyn to Aberystwyth will also be running throughout February with discounts available on the Cambrian line.

A large trench will be dug outside the Grade 2 listed Dyfi Cottages for works to take place to improve drainage, protecting them from future flooding
A large trench will be dug outside the Grade 2 listed Dyfi Cottages for works to take place to improve drainage, protecting them from future flooding (Alun Griffiths Contractors)

There will however be no financial compensation for increased costs that are likely to be felt by residents needing to drive the detour for vehicles to access Machynlleth and Powys.

Alun Griffiths Contractors state: "The emergency services have been informed of the road closure... "There is no statutory compensation for people or businesses that are affected by the road closure. Every effort has been made to minimise the disruption to journeys."

The company aims for the work to be completed within 30 days "subject to weather permitting".

After the works are completed in March the old bridge will become permanently pedestrianised, with access only to cyclists and people on foot.

Removable bollards will be placed on the north and south of the bridge to allow emergency vehicle access in the event the new bridge closes, and to allow farmers who own the land immediately surrounding the bridge access.

What Powys health services are doing to support residents affected by the closure

Dyfi Valley Health is preparing for the impact of the road closure on its patients, some of whom will have their eight-minute journeys from Pennal to the Bro Dyfi Community Hospital turn into a one-hour trip one way.

Dyfi Valley Health's plans include issuing two-month prescriptions, remote appointments, and even emergency support being offered remotely.

A statement from the centre reads: "This is a significant event and will cause delays in health care and increased stress and uncertainty for several patients.

"However, we can provide remote health care, and, by working with us, we hope the disruption to those individuals will be minimal. We will work with affected patients to ensure they get the healthcare they need." The centre underlines that Bro Dyfi Community Hospital is running a full service and that people should not hesitate to call them if emergency health care is needed.

It adds that it can "deal with a lot of emergencies remotely". Dyfi Valley Health asks for routine appointments to be done remotely if possible, or rearranged until after the closure finishes if not urgent.

Meanwhile, the dispensary will be offering two months' supplies of medication to those affected by the road closure.

For those who require district nursing, district nurse team leader Eleri Jones encourages all those affected by the closure to ring her with her concerns to arrange "the most appropriate plan for your needs".

Residents north of the bridge closure are also concerned about their access to Aberystwyth's Bronglais Hospital.

Matthew Willis, General Manager of Hywel Dda University Health Board’s Bronglais Hospital, said: “We appreciate that journey times for some patients to Bronglais Hospital may be longer than usual due to the temporary closure of the Dyfi Bridge.

"If a patient feels that they need to change the time of an appointment, we ask that they call the telephone number on their appointment letter.”

Updates about the road closure will be posted on the New Dyfi Bridge Community Page on the Alun Griffiths Website.