A major milestone in the £126m Lowestoft third crossing project has been passed, with the first giant span section gently put in position by Lake Lothing.

The first part of the Gull Wing structure was lowered into place at the end of the town's Commercial Road on Saturday.

The mammoth operation saw the 1,400 tonne structure wheeled into the correct position, before it was jacked in and secured.

The bridge section - called Nav 1 - is 55 metres long and trundled at about one mile an hour to the two blocks it was to be fitted into, with the main operation taking about 40 minutes.

About 120 people were involved in the move, which saw the track on the East Suffolk train line covered over with a temporary surface for the span to travel across as it inched its way to its final destination on dozens of wheels.

Nav 1 is the first of eight sections of the Gull Wing crossing, with the following parts due to be lifted in place by a giant specialised crane.

Once completed next year it will be the biggest bascule bridge of its kind in the world.

As Nav 1 settled into its permanent home there was a enormous sense of satisfaction by the two men spearheading the project - Neil Rogers, project manager at contractors Farrans, and Simon Bretherton, project director for Suffolk County Council.

Mr Rogers said: "This is the biggest milestone in the project so far. It has been two years in the making.

"There is a lot of satisfaction to see it be put in place. There have been significant challenges we faced together.

"There were no nerves. All the nervousness is in the preparation."

Mr Bretherton said: "It's great to see it happen. There has been a lot of hard work done to get to this point.

"The benefits it will bring will be improving the connectivity of north and south Lowestoft and helping to reduce congestion in the town."

The bridge will link Waveney Drive to Denmark Way and Peto Way.

The NAV1 section arrived in Lowestoft in May by boat from Belgium, and has been sitting by the side of the lake.

The other sections will also come from Belgium, although around half of Farrans workforce on the project are from the Lowestoft area.

How the process unfolded

Reporter Anthony Carroll was given close up access to the operation to lift the Nav 1 in place.

My first impression was just one of awe as I first glimpsed the 1,400 tonne bridge span.

The operation to lift it into place, using wheels to roll it to the correct spot, reminded me of scenes from Thunderbirds.

The giant wheels were operated by one contractor who was given constant instructions, as the Nav 1 inched its way to the two piers it would rest on.

The manoeuvrability of the lifting device was surprisingly fast as it started to put the span in place.

As that happened workers could be seen taking videos and pictures on their mobile phones to capture the moment.

And as it dropped into place it made me realise that after years of writing about the third crossing project it was fast-becoming a tangible reality.