Work on crucial bridge completed ahead of schedule
PUBLISHED: 14:47 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:47 20 February 2018
Essential maintenance work on a town centre bridge has been completed nearly a fortnight ahead of schedule.
The Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft has been closed overnight between 8pm and 6am while work to replace the lifting mechanisms has been taking place.
In the meantime, drivers have had to plan ahead for a longer journey via a diversion route, while pedestrians were provided with a temporary bus service.
Work was due to be finish early next week but the maintenance was completed on Thursday, February 15, meaning the overnight closures will no longer be necessary.
The important bridge carries around 13,600 vehicles a day through Lowestoft along the beginning of the A47, which then stretches towards Norfolk. The recent work will help to keep journeys over the bridge safe and reliable.
Highways England service delivery manager Ajith Nair said: “The Bascule Bridge is a crucial part of the A47, which is a key road for not just East Anglia, but for Britain too. It also provides access to the Lowestoft Port, making it a key commercial spot for Suffolk’s fourth largest town.
“By working closely with our partners, we managed to complete the work without delay. We needed to close the Bascule Bridge every night, so we are pleased to be able to finish the work early to enable the bridge to remain open.”
Highways England have been replacing the bridge’s four lifting mechanisms at various intervals in order to minimise traffic disruption, with one changed each year. Three of the mechanisms have now been replaced and each is expected to last for at least two decades.
Only one lifting mechanism is needed on each side for the bridge to open; the second is in place to provide a back-up and ensure the bridge can still open and close if there are any technical problems.
The £230,000 work on the Bascule Bridge is part of a wider £18 million package of essential maintenance work to maintain the A47, which consists of around 70 different schemes on the road.
Among the additional work taking place along the A47 is resurfacing, renewing signs and road markings, drainage repairs and replacing street lights.