Construction of a third river bridge in Lowestoft has been unanimously approved by Suffolk County Council.
The council has said the Lake Lothing Third Crossing will be Suffolk’s "most significant infrastructure development in recent memory".
The bridge, named Gull Wing by local schoolchildren, is part of a bid to open Lowestoft up to new business opportunities.
Construction work is planned to begin in spring 2021, with a target of summer 2023 for Gull Wing's official opening.
Councillor Steve Gallant, leader of East Suffolk Council, said:
“This is a really welcome moment now that everything has been made official. With our masterplan ambitions and being able to protect businesses and residents from flooding for 100 years, Lowestoft will be increasingly important to Suffolk and beyond.
Giving the bridge its name is a statement of intent for the project and for the future of the town. We are building for our future, so it is entirely appropriate that the bridge has been named by our younger residents.”
Somerleyton Primary School pupils thought up the name, Gull Wing.
The school's headteacher, Louise Spall, explains their thought process: “The children wanted to come up with a name which reflected living by the seaside, but they also thought that the shape of bridge was really interesting. The V-shape of the new bridge looks like a bird’s wings and, of course, what seaside town is complete without gulls!
A panel of representatives from the local councils, local organisations and the town council, led by Waveney MP Peter Aldous, unanimously agreed that Gull Wing would become the new bridge’s name.
“When we all looked at the list, Gull Wing jumped out at us straight away," Mr Aldous said.
"We were looking for a name with a local context which had some meaning to it, but which would also be snappy and descriptive so people will use it.
“Many congratulations to the pupils from Somerleyton Primary School. When the bridge is open, they will be able to walk and cycle over it, knowing that they gave it its name. And who knows, when they are older, maybe drive their electric car over it too!”
Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, added: “It was important for me that the local community was involved with the project right from the start. This is a theme which will continue during the construction of the bridge and throughout its life as it will provide apprenticeships and jobs.
The project’s final business case will be submitted to the Department for Transport by the end of August. The company chosen to build the bridge will then be announced in September, along with the appointment of a new project director at the council.
Funding from the Department of Transport is expected to be available in November.