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Reflecting on Lowestoft's vital Bascule Bridge crossing

PUBLISHED: 16:43 12 February 2018 | UPDATED: 16:43 12 February 2018

Lowestoft's double-bascule bridge being tested in February 1972 for the official opening on  March 24. Picture: Archant Library

Lowestoft's double-bascule bridge being tested in February 1972 for the official opening on March 24. Picture: Archant Library

It is a key crossing which has tested the patience of motorists for more than 45 years as thousands of drivers use the A47 Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft every day.

Crowds waiting along the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft for the Eastern Lights Cavalcade in 2008. Picture: James BassCrowds waiting along the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft for the Eastern Lights Cavalcade in 2008. Picture: James Bass

According to Highways England, the bridge carries around 13,600 vehicles a day over the beginning of the A47 through the town, as the road continues to then head north into Norfolk.

With the Port of Lowestoft harbour made up of two sections divided by the bascule bridge – which comes from the French term for balance scale – the drawbridge was opened in 1972 and was designed to have an expected 30-year lifespan. The bridge also provides access to the port, making it a “key commercial spot” for Lowestoft.

But over the years delays, disruption and closures for repairs on the bridge have prompted widespread calls for a third crossing in Lowestoft to ease congestion.

Work is currently ongoing on a £230,000 scheme to replace the lifting mechanisms on the bridge.

Bascule bridge, June 1978. Picture: Archant LibraryBascule bridge, June 1978. Picture: Archant Library

Lowestoft's double-bascule bridge, January 1994. Picture: Archant LibraryLowestoft's double-bascule bridge, January 1994. Picture: Archant Library

The 50 ft span of Lowestoft's Double Bascule Bridge across the harbour channel when it was lowered for the first time and tested

in November 1971. Picture: Archant LibraryThe 50 ft span of Lowestoft's Double Bascule Bridge across the harbour channel when it was lowered for the first time and tested in November 1971. Picture: Archant Library

Boats make their way under the open Bascule Bridge at Lowestoft in 2008. 
Picture: Denise BradleyBoats make their way under the open Bascule Bridge at Lowestoft in 2008. Picture: Denise Bradley

Anglia Afloat Cruise 2011 craft at the Lowestoft Bascule Bridge. Picture: Denise BradleyAnglia Afloat Cruise 2011 craft at the Lowestoft Bascule Bridge. Picture: Denise Bradley

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