Work is now underway on two new bridges on the East Anglian coast, promising to bring huge economic benefits locally.
The Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth is 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 combined total of over £170million to both ventures.
Farrans, one of the UK’s leading building and civil engineering contractors, is involved with the construction of both projects. In Great Yarmouth, the construction is a joint venture with 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. The Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth will start demolition of some buildings and structures later this month and trial holes for utilities are underway for the Gull Wing in Lowestoft.
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.
“Our community engagement teams will also be working with local residents, businesses and school children. One of our first engagements is participating in National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) from 8 February 2021, which aims to shine a light on the amazing apprenticeship opportunities and what apprenticeship schemes bring to employers, individuals and the economy. Both BAM Nuttall and Farrans will be presenting at East Coast Colleges NAW webinar on Tuesday 9 February 2021, highlighting the apprenticeship opportunities in both 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. We may even find some budding architects, engineers and designers of the future!”
Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said:
“I’m looking forward to visiting Lowestoft, when it is permitted to do so, to see where work has begun. There will be a lot of preparatory work that goes on behind the scenes and may not be immediately obvious to passers-by, but the Gull Wing is most definitely go. I’m delighted to have delivered my commitment to make the Gull Wing a reality and thank you to East Suffolk Council and all partners for their continued support.”
Councillor 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.”
The Rt. Hon. Brandon Lewis CBE, MP for Great Yarmouth, said:
“These are both fantastic projects that will be truly transformational for the whole region. The Third River Crossing will significantly improve traffic flows, which will help residents and visitors to get around as well as bring meaningful benefits to local businesses, especially those in the energy sector.”
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. Both projects aim to open to the public in 2023.