Broads boaters ‘trapped’ after bridge unable to swing open

Somerleyton Bridge is unable to open due to a technical fault. Picture: Denise Bradley

Somerleyton Bridge is unable to open due to a technical fault. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant copyright 2011

A mechanical fault at a Broads bridge has left holidaymakers trapped and unable to complete a return trip.

Boaters have reported becoming stuck at Beccles, Oulton Broad and Burgh St Peter following a mechanical fault at Somerleyton Bridge.

Many are now saying they have been unable to return rental boats and some are struggling to get home altogether.

In a Facebook post, the Broads Authority said: “Urgent boating news - Network Rail has informed us that Reedham swing bridge is now operational. But Somerleyton swing bridge is unable to open to river traffic due to a mechanical fault.”

The Broads’ Authority was approached for comment.

Haven Bridge in Great Yarmouth often gets stuck in the open position and has on occasion brought the

Haven Bridge in Great Yarmouth often gets stuck in the open position and has on occasion brought the town to a standstill. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant


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Peter Thompson, who was supposed to be travelling back to Brundall via the bridge with his wife and parents, says their boating party is “trapped in Beccles Marina”.

“It doesn’t really look chaotic or anything, and everyone is calm - but there’s definitely an impatience growing as we want to know how and when we’ll get moving, and when it’ll be fixed,” he said.

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“Reedham Bridge was down on Friday, and when we went past it there was a lot of boating traffic trying to get through.

“What we think has happened is that parts from Somerleyton Bridge were used to fix Reedham Bridge, since that’s an important passage for seafearing boats.”

The Haven Bridge at Great Yarmouth will not be opening for the time being over fears it would get st

The Haven Bridge at Great Yarmouth will not be opening for the time being over fears it would get stuck. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

This has not been confirmed by the Broads’ Authority.

Mr Thompson said the Broads Authority were only providing updates via their Facebook page rather than their website.

“My wife and I are going back to London tomorrow so we’ll get a taxi to Norwich and we’ll be fine, but my parents need to get the boat back to Brundall. They’ve got no idea when that’ll be.

“My dad is in his 60s and he’s just had to download Facebook for the first time in his life.”

The news comes as Great Yarmouth’s Haven Bridge created similar problems for boaters last week, with Norfolk County Council confirming the bridge is unable to lift due to electrical issues.

Alan Coggs, 71, and his wife Carolyn were due return home on August 7 after spending five days on their yacht.

The plan was to sail back up the River Yare, under the Haven Bridge, before mooring their boat at a marina in Brundall - but at the last minute they were told that the structure could not be lifted to allow their vessel pass through.

Mr Coggs said: “We don’t know when we’re going to get back. We are having to pay for mooring fees here and we are just trying to get home.”

Norfolk County Councillor Martin Wilby confirmed the bridge would not be lifted for the time being over fears it may get stuck.

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