Preliminary work begins on third crossing
PUBLISHED: 14:12 25 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:56 25 September 2020
Preparations for a coastal town’s new £126.75m bridge have got under way.
The preliminary work for Lowestoft’s new Gull Wing bridge have started with an archaeological survey.
With Suffolk County Council’s cabinet giving the final approval to the project last month, Suffolk-based company, Archaeological Solutions Ltd, is digging trial trenches at the site of the Lake Lothing Third Crossing to discover if there are any archaeological remains relating to activity on the water’s edge.
There are deep layers of more recent material beneath the current site surface, which was brought in to level the site.
A council spokesman said: “We are undertaking this archaeological work at the earliest possible stage, so that we give ourselves plenty of time to manage anything that might be discovered.
“This means that we can keep to our timetable of beginning construction work in Spring 2021.”
An archaeological survey of the site is a formal requirement before any works on the main construction can start.
The council’s own Archaeology Service will oversee the works to ensure that the site is properly mapped and any finds are recorded.
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.
Original costs for the crossing were estimated at £91.73million, to be funded from a £73.39m Department for Transport commitment and £18.34m in local contributions – with £10m being from the county council.
But with spiralling cost pressures surrounding the land – including compensating businesses affected – and costs from delays caused by the general election and coronavirus meant the estimated cost of the bridge is now at £126.75m.
Last month Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said: “It will be an infrastructure project of national importance and a really significant step forward for the town of Lowestoft and the whole of the east coast region.”
Details of the company which has secured the construction contract will be announced shortly.
The Gull Wing is scheduled to open in the summer of 2023, with the bridge set to significantly reduce congestion in and around Lowestoft.
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