Though the new bridge gives options for pedestrians and cyclists, it will not see the number 34 bus service.
Last month Lloyd’s Coaches, which runs bus services across Powys and Gwynedd, announced the regular timetabled bus route serving Aberllefenni in Gwynedd to Aberystwyth would be cancelled and replaced with an on-demand ‘fflecsi’ service, requiring users to ring up and book the bus two hours in advance.
This comes as the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) based in Corris, which sits on the number 34 bus route, visitors centre to the public in November.
Mr Waters said on this during the bridge opening last week: “We’ve got a problem with private buses because people are just not travelling in the same numbers they did before Covid-19, and the companies just can’t make a profit.
“They’ve been withdrawing services as a result and [the Welsh Government] has less money to try and subsidise them.
“We are going to change the way we organise buses in Wales to make sure they serve the public, not just profit.”
Correspondence from the Transport Team at Gwynedd Council on 23 January said: “During the network review in Gwynedd, passenger numbers and flows has been a driving factor and that the service provision should align with demand.
“The cost of providing public services has increased dramatically, as the current contracts have been in place for over a decade.
“Public transport is not a statutory provision, although Cyngor Gwynedd is aiming to maintain and improve provision where resources allow us to do so.”
Cyngor Gwynedd went on to state scholar journeys to CAT would be maintained on “fixed timetable journeys”.
Mr Waters was also recently the face of yet another cost and health saving mission - the controversial new 20mph rule on the majority of 30mph roads, enforced in autumn 2023.
Mr Waters was the perhaps unfortunate face of the Senedd decision, which has caused him to receive all manner of abuse from the disgruntled public. Only two weeks ago on 28 January he was met by a member of public in a parking lot who shouted abuse at him, calling him “an idiot” due to the move.
However despite the abuse, Mr Waters, Labour MS for Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, said the 20mph speed limits are here to stay: “To make an omelette you’ve got to break some eggs. This is a really difficult policy area- It doesn’t help the fact that some roads have 20mph that don’t make sense and should be kept at 30mph.
“Those that haven’t been changed correctly winds people up. The 20mph change is the biggest change in the rules of the road in more than a generation.
“It was never going to be perfect on day one, we had very difficult judgement calls about which roads to exempt and we are reviewing them to make sure we get the balance right, using a common-sense lens.
“Once we get through the review and get the balance better changing some roads back to 30mph where that makes sense, I think hopefully it’ll calm down.
“If people are frustrated and they think the restriction on the road in which they travel on isn’t right, they need to get in touch with the council so that can be fed into the review, and we can make changes where needed.”
The new Dyfi bridge has a 50mph speed limit but changes quickly on the approach south into Machynlleth to 20mph, to match with the new speed limit imposed across the entire town.
Welsh Government said the 20mph rule was introduced in the name of public health and safety, with a study finding 20mph speed limits created 40 per cent fewer collisions, saving six in every 10 lives and up to 2,000 people from injury.
Though the introduction of the new rule itself cost the government a hefty £32m, the Senedd states this is outweighed by the savings made in the NHS and emergency services, estimated to save up to £92m yearly.
The government hopes the speed reduction will also encourage more people to walk and cycle and improve health and wellbeing as well as noise pollution.
Whilst the new bridge won’t solve noise and pollution problems for the community in Machynlleth, only time will tell as to whether the “expensive” project will have the desired health and safety benefits that warranted the £46m spend.
MS Waters concluded: “I think [the project finishing] is a great relief for the whole community – everybody knows the regular flooding of the old bridge has been a huge frustration for people.
“This is an expensive project; the engineering has been challenging but you can see it here for what it is- it’s a fantastic piece of infrastructure that will help people locally and also those making longer distance journeys.”