Lake Lothing’s navigation channel is to be closed to marine traffic for three weeks in the new year while the main bascule span of the Gull Wing bridge is installed.
Suffolk County Council has now issued a 3-month advance notice to the Harbour Authority and Lake Lothing marine users regarding a Notice of Temporary Suspension of Navigation to facilitate the final phase of the bridge’s construction, which is expected to commence from 22nd January 2024, subject to final preparation and prevailing weather conditions.
As Harbour Authority, Associated British Ports (ABP) has given its consent and will issue a Notice to Mariners of the closure.
The bascule span will arrive by sea from the Netherlands and enter Lake Lothing through the existing bascule bridge, before being rotated and jacked into position.
The installation and commissioning of the bascule span is the most complex major element of the project, and the works during the channel closure are critical to enabling the Gull Wing bridge to be operational. Following the three-week closure, a further period of reliability testing will be needed before the bridge is fully operational.
There will then be a short period of time for final handover and operator staff training before the bridge can safely be opened to the public later in the year.
Cllr Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:
“The publication of this Notice is another significant milestone in the delivery of the Gull Wing, which will deliver huge benefits to residents and businesses in Lowestoft by reducing traffic congestion and providing a catalyst for regeneration. The arrival of the bascule bridge by sea and its installation will be the biggest sign yet that this long-awaited scheme is becoming reality.”
Tristram Browne, Project Manager at Farrans, said:
“All of the Farrans team are looking forward with pride to what will be the last significant milestone in the project before the opening of the new crossing of Lake Lothing to the public. There has been a huge effort from all involved so far, to progress the project in readiness to receive the final bascule bridge span, which will be the most visually impressive, changing the skyline of Lowestoft for the next century or more.”
Tom Duit, Operations Manager at ABP’s Port of Lowestoft, said:
“ABP is pleased to play an important role in supporting the completion of the Gull Wing Bridge in Lowestoft, which is a significant piece of infrastructure for the town. ABP is committed to ensuring that Safety of Navigation is maintained at all times during the construction and is dedicated to working closely with Suffolk County Council and Farrans to minimise any disruption to port users. We are grateful for the cooperation and patience of all port users as we make this exciting step towards a more connected future for Lowestoft.”