DRIVERS travelling into England from Wales on the A5117 Deeside Park Improvement, currently under construction, will receive a dramatic welcome – a lion 20m long and 9m high.
The giant animal will be made out of five tons of white stone cut into the turf of a steep embankment near the Woodbank junction. Work should be finished in December.
Highways Agency project manager Stephen Greenhalgh said: “This is an historic gateway between England and Wales and deserves to be marked in style.
“We have decided on that traditional English symbol – the lion. I hope it will become a popular landmark for the thousands of people who will use and benefit from the new road.”
Richard Waddell, the artist from landscape architects Moore Environment who designed the feature, said: “The Woodbank lion presents a dynamic modern image of our English national symbol in tune with a modern high speed road but with echoes of the distant past.
“The stylised shape was inspired by the patterns in Anglo Saxon and Celtic jewellery. Its form etched into the landscape also represents an ancient technique but one which meets modern demands for a long life with minimal maintenance.”
The new road is about three miles (five kilometres) long. The A5117 improvement scheme began in October 2006 and will cost £58m – £4.5m has been contributed by the Welsh Assembly Government for the section of road in the principality while the European Union has contributed two million Euros because the A5117 is part of the Trans European network.