THE start of construction of a £135M Caernarfon to Bontnewydd bypass to ease "the scourge of traffic congestion" was officially marked today.

Minister for Economy and Transport and Minister for North Wales, Ken Skates cut the first sod at the Cybyn Industrial Estate during the start of work today (Thursday.)

The six mile bypass (9.8km) will run from the Goat roundabout on the A499/A487 junction to the Plas Menai roundabout around Llanwnda, Dinas, Bontnewydd and Caernarfon.

The Labour AM said the scheme was a "significant development for North West Wales" and will relieve congestion and improve safety in the area.

Arfon MP Hywel Williams and AM Siân Gwenllian had long lead calls for the bypass.

In a joint statement the Plaid Cymru politicians said:

"Our constituents have waited long enough for work to start on this vitally important project. It will provide a significant boost to the local economy in Arfon.’

"Plaid Cymru has campaigned for this project and have put significant pressure on the Welsh Labour Government to get the ball rolling."

Construction is being carried out in a joint venture by Balfour Beatty and Ruthin-based Jones Bros.

The Arfon politicians added: "After repeated setbacks, we are pleased the contractors can now get to work on delivering this infrastructure investment in our local economy.’

"The bypass will ease the scourge of traffic congestion, encourage business growth and prosperity and provide hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships.’

"We must now work to ensure that local firms and tradespeople are able to take maximum advantage of the employment opportunities this scheme offers and that those jobs stay local."

Local employment opportunities and placements for trainees, apprentices and graduates are being created as part of the construction stage

Ken Skates said: “I am delighted to mark the beginning of the construction phase.

“The Welsh Government is investing £135 million in the Caernarfon and Bontnewydd bypass which will deliver a real step change in how people travel.

"It means journeys for motorists will be quicker and more reliable and traffic congestion on local routes reduced. This scheme will have a real positive impact on the area."

It is hoped the bypass will be completed by Autumn 2021.