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Bascule bridge work now complete

PUBLISHED: 11:02 06 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:57 05 July 2010

ROAD chiefs last night confirmed the news everyone in Lowestoft was desperate to hear - that no more closures of the town's bascule bridge are being planned.

ROAD chiefs last night confirmed the news everyone in Lowestoft was desperate to hear - that no more closures of the town's bascule bridge are being planned.

A £2.3m repair project on the bridge was finally completed, a year behind schedule, yesterday morning.

Town leaders spoke of their delight and relief, but the Highways Agency was warned it would still face searching questions about what went wrong.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: “This week's overnight work on the bascule bridge has been very successful and we are not planning any further closures.

“Once again, the Highways Agency would like to thank the people of Lowestoft for their patience while this complicated, but essential project has been carried out.”

Work was initially due to be completed before last Christmas, but contractors found some parts of the bridge were more worn than originally thought. This led to further day and night closures during 2008, sparking angry responses from town traders and motorists.

Waveney MP Bob Blizzard was one of the Highways Agency's chief critics and at one stage called in the transport minister to intervene.

Last night, Mr Blizzard said: “I am relieved it is now over; it has clearly taken a huge toll on the town. It has been a dark cloud over Lowestoft for a ridiculous amount of time.”

However, Mr Blizzard said the cloud had a silver-lining after he persuaded the Highways Agency to pay for a study into where a third bridge for the town should be built. He added he was now determined to get the project pushed up the list for regional funding.

Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee said he was pleased the “nightmare” of the bridge closures was over, but warned: “It doesn't mean we won't keep up the pressure on the Highways Agency in terms of finding out why this whole catalogue of errors happened. Lessons have to be learnt.”

Mr Bee chaired a council meeting last month to look into what went wrong with the project, but there was anger after the Highways Agency refused to send a representative.

Overnight resurfacing on Battery Green Lane, close to the bascule bridge, will continue until Tuesday. One lane will be open and controlled by traffic lights on Waveney Road and Battery Green Road. Local traffic will be diverted via Katwijk Way and St Peter's Street while A12 through traffic will be diverted via Oulton Broad. Work will take place between 8pm and 6am.

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