The Menai Strait is a narrow stretch of shallow tidal water which separates the island of Anglesey from the Welsh mainland. Bridged in two places, the main A5 road is carried over the strait by Thomas Telford's spectacular, iron suspension bridge. Telford designed the Menai Strait Bridge on a huge scale compared to smaller suspension bridges that had been built before. It was vital that this bridge be tall enough to allow for the passage of tall sailing ships that would frequently sail beneath it. The suspension bridge has sixteen massive chains which hold up 579 feet of road surface between the two towers. Construction of the bridge began in 1819 using limestone which was quarried locally from the north of the strait at Penmaen. The iron came from Hazeldean's foundry near Shrewsbury. The bridge was opened on January 30th 1826 and did much to improve travel time from London to Holyhead. Traffic across the strait had increased in the early nineteenth century and Telford had already began to make huge improvements to the route from London to Holyhead which included the construction of this bridge.  
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