Fifty employment and training opportunities to be created as contractor announced to build Lowestoft’s Gull Wing

Suffolk County Council has announced that leading building and civil engineering contractor, Farrans, has been appointed to construct the Gull Wing, Lowestoft’s third crossing over Lake Lothing.

More than 50 local employment and training opportunities will be created by Farrans and the wider supply chain.

A comprehensive tender process was run over the summer and approval to appoint the contractor was made at Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet meeting on 25 August 2020. Farrans was subsequently revealed as the winning contractor and the £76m contract will commence later this year.

The Gull Wing will be Suffolk’s most significant infrastructure development in recent memory and is one of several substantial projects to transform Lowestoft in the coming years.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said:

“Suffolk’s Gull Wing project continues to gather momentum and I’m pleased to welcome Farrans onboard. Following an in-depth tender process, this appointment is based on an offer which we believe will bring a balance of high-quality workmanship, value for money and great social value for the local area.

“Since we announced the Gull Wing name and approved the budget to move the project forward last month, I’ve felt a real wave of positivity from the town and unanimous support from colleagues across the county.”

Farrans has over 70 years’ experience working in the East of England, having established a permanent office in 1949 to serve East Anglia. The company has successfully completed in excess of 250 projects in the region over the last three decades through its building and civil engineering divisions, such as Abberton pipeline for Essex and Suffolk Water.

Operating across the UK and Ireland and employing over 500 people, Farrans has significant experience with large scale infrastructure projects most recently including; the West Cumbria Water Supply Pipeline, Edinburgh Trams to Newhaven, M80 Steps to Haggs and Northern Spire Bridge.

Jonny Kerr, operations director for Farrans’ Civil Engineering Division, said:

“We’re delighted to be involved with the Gull Wing, which is going to mean a great deal to the local community. It is even more exciting to be working on such an iconic structure.

“The Gull Wing bridge will offer in excess of 50 employment and training opportunities for the local area through ourselves and our supply chain to leave a lasting legacy within Suffolk. In the last 20 years we have completed 24 projects for Suffolk County Council, including Lowestoft North Fire Station and Lowestoft South Fire Station.

“We will of course be building the bridge, but our presence in Lowestoft will be much more than that. We will be working with local schools to involve children in the project and launching apprenticeships for local people.

“I’m also hoping that we will receive interest from plenty of local and regional businesses, to be part of the supply chain to construct the Gull Wing. We’ll be working with the council’s project team in the coming months to arrange these opportunities.”

The project’s full business case has now been submitted to the Department for Transport and once reviewed will enable the government’s £73.39m funding to be accessed.

Construction work is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021, with the bridge opening in the summer of 2023.