The Bont Evans Tree Works and Stabilisation (BETWS) project has been set up to safely fell an area of trees and stabilise the hillside along the A487 trunk road near Ceinws, to the north of Machynlleth
November 2018 Project update
Work is still progressing well, our contractors, Dawnus and Forest Services, have now cleared 80% of the trees, with all the felling now completed to the North of Bont Evans. We are still on schedule to complete the felling in the spring.
Native trees and shrubs are being retained wherever possible, and non-native species, both trees and plants like rhododendron, are being removed. Deadwood and loose stumps, which are vital for insects and fungi, are being retained on the flatter parts of the site as part of our conservation plan.
The post-felling plan of reverting the site to native broadleaved trees is also ongoing and we are planning to carry out some replanting in late winter.
The traffic management is still in place as planned and has been working well. The average length of stoppage is still under 5 minutes, but this could increase a little as the biggest trees are now being removed from the steepest section of the bank. We will continue to monitor this closely to make sure it doesn’t cause too much disruption.
Preparing for bad weather
We’ve already had some big storms this autumn, and as winter gets closer we do expect more bad weather.
For the safety of those working on site our contractors may need to stop felling during extreme weather events. We have allowed for unplanned stoppages like this in our timetable and hopefully it will not cause any major delays.
As you will know, storms and high winds can increase the risk of trees falling. To help reduce this risk while felling works take place, the more exposed areas have been harvested first, working from the edges towards the centre. We have also minimised the amount of open edges which are particularly vulnerable to high winds.
Dawnus will be carrying out regular checks when Met Office weather warnings are in place, and if they have any concerns they will report this to the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency (NWMTRA) who can facilitate a closure of the road if necessary.
If you need to report a tree that has fallen across the main road you can report this to NWMTRA directly on 0300 123 1213 or contact Dawnus.
Christmas Working Hours
Our contractors will not be carrying out any felling works over the Christmas period which means there will no traffic management in place from 21 December until 3 January. The team will still be carrying out regular site visits and checks throughout this time.
August 2018 Project Update
We provided an update in July to let you know that Dawnus would beginning felling trees from the steepest section of the bank - therefore stopping traffic in both directions every time a tree is being cut and removed.
We are pleased to report that the work is progressing well with 70% of trees felled so far.
Traffic Management on the A487
As you are aware this part of the project is high risk to people and cars below, therefore, we will must stop traffic in both directions for up to ten minutes every time a tree is being cut and removed.
This traffic management has now been in place for just over 6 weeks and we have been monitoring the length of each stop. To date, the average length of stoppage is under 5 minutes.
Change in work times
To help make the most of the working day before the autumn draws in, Dawnus are going to increase their working hours slightly.
To reduce disruption, they will still stop work during ‘peak hours’ but this will now be between 08:30-09:30 and 15:30-16:00. These extended hours are on a trial basis and we will continue to monitor the traffic on the A487.
They will not be felling trees on the steep bank over the weekend or on public holidays, therefore no traffic management will be in place during these times.
Increased traffic management to start next week
We provided an update recently to let you know that Dawnus had installed the catch fence.
They are now ready to begin the next phase of the project and will start felling trees from the steepest section of the bank next week.
Increasing the traffic management
This part of the project is high risk to people and cars below, therefore, we will need to stop traffic in both directions for up to ten minutes every time a tree is being cut and removed.
The catch fence will help stop stones and debris falling on to the main road, but many of the trees are over 43m tall and weigh over 12 tonnes so we need this ‘all red’ traffic management for the safety of those driving on the road below.
We expect it to take around 9 months to remove the trees from the steepest sections of the bank. However, we can only do this one-tree-at-a-time so it’s important to emphasise that the duration of the work can change, depending on how it progresses.
Reducing the disruption
Dawnus will not be installing the all red traffic management during ‘peak hours’ between 08:00 – 09:30 and 15:00 – 17:30.
They do not plan to work on the steep bank over the weekend or on public holidays.
Arrangements are also in place to ensure emergency vehicles can pass through the lights at any time with no delay.
When we spoke to people at our drop-in sessions, there were concerns about increased traffic in Ceinws during the ‘all red’ traffic management. Therefore, we have agreed a Temporary Traffic Regulation Amenity (TTRA) order on the C2166 road, off the A487.
This means access will be restricted to residents and businesses - we will however signpost that businesses in the area are still open as usual.
A separate diversion will also be signposted along the A470, through Mallwyd, for drivers who wish to avoid the disruption all together.
We are sorry for the disruption during this time and we will do our best to reduce the impact on the community and road users, but this is a major project and our priority is to keep everyone safe.
The trails in Tan y Coed
In the interests of safety, we have had to close the Bryn Llwyd running trail. We have also closed the public footpath that runs southwards from Bont Evans into the high-ground within Tan-y-Coed forest, where felling works will be conducted.
Our other running and walking trails in Tan y Coed will stay open. If we do need to close or divert a trail unexpectedly, this will be clearly signposted on site and advertised on our website.
Impact on wildlife and the environment
We are also committed to reducing the impact of our work on wildlife. We’ve started this by clearing some trees and vegetation over the winter. Our Conservation and Heritage Officer has also been visiting the site regularly to carry out dormouse and raptor surveys, making sure we are always following best practice to minimise the ecological impact of our work.
BETWS project update – join our drop in session!
We provided an update in January to let you know that Dawnus, our contractor, had completed preparatory works in the area and would begin installing a catch fence along the bottom edge of the woodland.
They have been progressing well, with the majority of low-risk trees felled. The catch fence installation has also been completed, which means felling on the bank above the road can start shortly.
Dawnus will not be using any traffic management on the road for the next 3-5 weeks as they continue with the low-risk work.
However, towards the end of July, Dawnus will start felling on the very steep sections of the bank, which is high-risk. To do this safely, they will need to stop traffic for up to ten minutes every time a tree is being felled, sectioned and removed.
We expect this high risk felling to start towards the end of July, and take around 9 months.
We can only do this one-tree-at-a-time though, so it’s important to emphasise that the timings can change, depending on how the work progresses.
Drop in session
Join our drop-in session to find out how Dawnus will be working to reduce the impact on the local community and road users. This will also be a chance to find out more about the project, and learn how we will be managing the area to prevent this from happening in the future.
Please come and see us on 26 June from 15.00-19.00 at the Corris Institute.
If you have any queries or concerns but can’t make our drop in session, you can contact us directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0300 065 3000. Or contact Dawnus via email email@example.com / call 07920 770109.
Progress update: Installing the catch fence
Work to install the 900 metre catch fence along the A487, near Ceinws, is going well. Dawnus have installed about 50% of the fence so far.
If you’ve travelled this section of road recently, or you travel on it regularly, we are sorry for the disruption!
Once the whole fence is in place, Dawnus will move on to the next phase and start removing trees from the bank.
We will be issuing a full update before this begins so people know when it’s happening, and how it might affect them. We also plan to hold another public drop in session so people can meet the project team and ask them questions about the work.
BETWS project drop in session cancelled
The BETWS project drop in session, which was due to take place at the Corris Institute this afternoon, has been cancelled due to the weather and to ensure everyone’s safety.
We will look at holding another session at a later date.
Traffic lights to be installed as the next phase of the BETWS project begins
Dawnus, our contractor, have been working on the site since November and are progressing well with the preparatory work. This includes improving the forest access roads, installing the site compound area and putting up signage.
This week we will begin the next phase of work and install a catch fence along the bottom edge of the woodland - this will to stop debris falling onto the road when we begin felling the trees on the steep bank above.
The location of the A487 immediately below the area we’re working means we need to close one lane of traffic while we install the catch fence.
Next week, traffic lights will be installed on the A487 near Bont Evans, and they will be in place for around three months while the fence is put in place. Although, the timings may vary slightly depending on how we are progressing.
The lights will be in place from Monday to Friday - Dawnus will stop work and remove them over the weekend to help reduce travel disruption.
Once the catch fence has been installed, Dawnus can then move on to the next phase of work and start felling the trees above the road.
Felling on such a steep bank above the main road is high risk and further traffic management will need to be used. This includes stopping traffic in both directions for up to 10 minutes at a time when a tree is being cut or removed.
This felling will not start until the catch fence is in place, and we will another update before this begins.
Drop in session and contact
We are holding another drop-in session on 1 March from 14.00-19.00 at the Corris Institute, where people can learn more about the project and meet the team involved.
Preparation works now underway
Dawnus have now begun preparatory work in the area to improve the forest access roads, install the site compound area and put up signage.
While this preparatory work is being carried out, the impact will not be noticeable to everyone.
We have however had to close the Bryn Llwyd running trail in Tan y Coed woodland and it will not re-open until we have finished working in the area. We understand that this will be frustrating for people who wish to use the trail, but it’s important that we do this to keep people safe while we are working in the area.
Other trails in Tan y Coed may also be closed or diverted as the project progresses, this will be clearly signposted on site and advertised on the Tany y Coed web pages.
We will need to use traffic management for some of the work due to be carried out next year.
This will include a single lane road closure, and at times we will need to stop traffic in both directions for up to 10 minutes at a time. The details and timings of the traffic management are currently being finalised, but we will provide a full update before these are put in place next year.
We are working with the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency, Welsh Government Transport, and the emergency services to make sure we reduce the impact as much as possible.
A brief update from the BETWS project
Since the public sessions in May, we have been working to get the necessary permissions such as General Permitted Development Orders and street works licence whilst arranging approval for the traffic management. We have also carried out a stringent tender process to appoint the contractor who will do the work and consultants to manage and supervise the construction contract.
The tender process has now come to an end and we are glad to announce that Dawnus have been appointed as Principle Contractor for the project.
Dawnus are an engineering led company with a proven track record for safely delivering complex schemes on behalf of Natural Resources Wales, including the ongoing Roath Park Flood Alleviation Scheme in Cardiff.
They have selected a highly skilled and experienced team to deliver the BETWS project and, due to the highly specialist nature of works and risks involved, partnered with a number of local companies that have a wealth of experience working in similar situations, particularly within mid Wales.
Our work is still planned to start this this autumn, but we must now to finalise all the contractual and programme details with the contractor and arrange the construction start date.
We will confirm the start date and information about another drop-in session very soon, this will be a good opportunity to meet the contractor and the project team. We will also be to explain the final traffic management plans and talk about how this will affect you.