£264m invested in bridging the gap between east coast communities

New infrastructure projects are regarded as being of national significance

Work has started on two new bridges that promise to bring big economic benefits to communities on the East Anglian coast.

The Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth is being managed by Norfolk County Council, and the Gull Wing project in Lowestoft by Suffolk County Council.

The projects are just 10 miles apart and have a combined cost of £246m.

The UK Government acknowledged the two bridges as nationally important infrastructure projects, with the Department for Transport committing a total of just over £170m to the builds.

 In Great Yarmouth, the construction is a joint venture between Farrans Construction and BAM Nuttall, and in Lowestoft it is the sole responsibility of Farrans.

Road closures for both projects have already been implemented as preparation work gets underway. Buildings are being demolished to pave the way for the Third River Crossing and utility trial holes are being excavated for the Gull Wing.

Neil Rogers, Project Director at Farrans Construction, said: “These projects are both at the heart of local towns, and we’re looking forward to supporting residents and businesses throughout the construction period and beyond.

“We will do this with employment and apprenticeship opportunities, as well as inviting local companies to bid to be part of the supply chain.”

Community engagement teams would be working with local residents, businesses and school children, and both Farrans and BAM Nuttall had participated in National Apprenticeship Week at the beginning of February to highlight the opportunities available on these two nationally significant infrastructure projects.

“Large construction projects like these are fantastic opportunities to show younger generations the positive difference made to where they live, as well as inspiring them,” he said. “We might even find some budding architects, engineers and designers of the future.”

Coun. Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport, said: “I’m delighted to see work on the long awaited Third River Crossing get underway and the commitment BAM Farrans have made to supporting the local economy.

“As well as providing jobs, it will make it much easier for people living and working in the borough to get around and provide crucial support to the town’s key industries, including those linked to the offshore energy and maritime sectors, tourism and manufacturing.

“Both these projects are now more important than ever as we seek to help the regional economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for the East Anglian coast, with these much-needed schemes now underway. The Government has committed to levelling up across the country and with these two major projects, we are now starting to see this happen in our region.

“The Gull Wing will create local jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in Lowestoft and the Waveney area. Local people regularly emphasise the importance of the Gull Wing. It is great news that I shall now be able to tell them that the talking is now over, and the work has begun.”

Although similar in many respects, the Third River Crossing and Gull Wing are unique projects and will move at different rates throughout their respective construction periods. If everything goes to schedule, they will open to the public in 2023.

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