§ CAPTAIN VERNEY (Bucks, N.)
I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether it is the case that the woodwork of the roadway of the Menai Suspension Bridge, laid down about eight years ago, was constructed of unseasoned timber, and already shows signs of decay; whether it was surveyed by Mr. Baker in 1888, and reported as likely only to last five years longer; what was the total cost of relaying the roadway; whether the original timbers of the roadway lasted about 60 years, and were then found to be mostly sound; whether he will lay Mr. Baker's Report upon the Table of the House; and whether it is the case that the Menai Bridge tolls have been recently increased, so as to be in many cases double what they were a few months ago?
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. PLUNKET,) University of Dublin
(1) The woodwork of the roadway laid down in 1878 is showing signs of decay—although it was supposed to have been constructed of "seasoned," though not "creosoted" timber. (2) The bridge was surveyed by Sir Benjamin Baker in 1888. He then reported that "the floor will not have a life of many years, but its condition is fairly good at the present time, and need cause no anxiety."(3) The precise cost of relaying the floor in 1878 is not on record, but it was about £5,000. (4) The previous floor seems to have been laid down in 1839. It was in a very unsound state when renewed in 1878. (5) There is no objection to laying Sir B. Biker's Report on the Table. (6) The rates of to 11have not been recently increased; but the method of levying the toll has been altered, in a way which leads to more frequent payments of toll, and this practically amounts 966 to an increase of the tolls. The change has been made by the Board's lessee, as he says, in his own defence, and entirely within his right.