Key river crossings in Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth given final approval

A CGI impression of a bridge going over a river
It is hoped the Gull Wing bridge will be ready to open by the summer of 2023 Credit: Suffolk County Council

Construction is set to begin on two bridges hailed as vital for the futures of two towns on the east coast after they were given final government approval.

Both the Gull Wing in Lowestoft and the bridge in Great Yarmouth will form a third crossing over Lake Lothing and the River Yare respectively.

The bridges are designed to reduce traffic congestion in the towns, with delays liable to build quickly if one of the existing crossings is blocked.

The money was confirmed on Wednesday, 25 November, as part of the government's autumn spending review.

The Gull Wing, which will cross Lake Lothing near the Asda supermarket, was granted £73m; construction is planned to start early in 2021 and Suffolk County Council are aiming to have it completed by 2023.

The latest image of what the new Great Yarmouth river crossing will look like Credit: Norfolk County Council / BAM Farrans

The same time frame is envisaged for the Great Yarmouth bridge, which was granted £98m of government funds. It will link the A47 at Harfrey’s roundabout to the port and the enterprise zone on the other side of the river.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council said he was "delighted" that funding had been approved for the Gull Wing.

He added: "With this news, the final step in our application to build this bridge is now complete. We can now access the funding, sign the construction contract and start building the bridge.

"Any doubts are now over and we will get spades into the ground early in the new year to build Lowestoft’s third crossing."

His counterparts in Norfolk shared his delight, hailing the bridge as crucial in Great Yarmouth's recovery.

Graham Plant, deputy leader of both Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: "This is fantastic news and means we can now make this much-needed bridge a reality.

"Not only will it make getting around so much easier for many people currently living and working in the borough but, crucially, it will support the town’s key industries, including those linked to the offshore energy and maritime sectors, tourism and manufacturing.

"This is more important than ever now as we seek to help Norfolk’s economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic."