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Access improvements for Nant Gwrtheyrn

17 March 2008

A £500,000 Capita Symonds scheme to improve a vital access road to the Nant Gwrtheyrn Welsh language residential training centre in North Wales has been completed.

Capita Symonds' North Wales office in Colwyn Bay designed and managed improvements to the road which was formally opened this week by Ieuan Wyn Jones, Welsh Assembly Government’s Deputy First Minister.

The local landscape had previously made access to the centre difficult for inexperienced drivers and prevented larger service vehicles from reaching the venue which is used for Welsh language teaching as well as weddings and conferences.

Capita Symonds was appointed by the Nant Gwrtheyrn Trust to secure planning permission and to design and supervise improvements to the private access road leading down to the centre on the beautiful Llyn Peninsula.

Our Colwyn Bay office had previously undertaken an options study for the Trust, reviewing a range of methods for improving the road and making it safer for road users to access. The improvements included widening of hairpin bends; trimming back the rock face in narrow sections of the road to increase road width and forward visibility; construction of passing places; provision of stone faced containment walls; and the installation of an innovative wood and steel safety barrier system, as well as a new entrance and gateway at the top of the valley.

The detailed design phase included geotechnical, ecological and landscape assessments, followed by project management and site supervision during the construction phase.

Capita Symonds' Associate Dilwyn Roberts said: “The existing access road to the Nant Gwrtheyrn Centre was built down the side of the mountain over 20 years ago. As you can imagine, it was very narrow and even quite treacherous with hairpin bends and gradients as steep as 1 in 4 – not to mention a cliff face on one side with an unprotected 500ft sheer drop on the other side of the track.”

“The magnificent setting of the site presented a number of challenges to the design and construction teams. Our main objectives were to design a scheme that would provide safe access for larger vehicles and minimise any impact on the environment. The scheme is sympathetic to the natural beauty of the site and the innovative use of timber faced safety fencing and local stone has preserved the rural nature of the access road and has helped to minimise the visual impact of the scheme. The team really put in a tremendous amount of hard work to deliver the project on time and within budget,” he added.

Client reaction to the scheme has been impressive with KPI scores of ten out of ten across the board. As Jeff Williams Jones, Chairman of Nant Gwrtheyrn Trust said: “We are very pleased with the standard of workmanship and the careful planning and design work which has delivered a major improvement to the access road. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the team at Capita Symonds for a job well done.”