'Incredibly exciting' as work begins on two major bridge projects just 10 miles apart
- Credit: WSP.
Two major infrastructure projects are now officially under way, with both expected to bring significant economic benefits to the coast.
Just 10 miles apart, the Gull Wing project in Lowestoft and the Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth have both been identified as nationally important, with the Department for Transport committing a total of £170m towards the £246m cost of both ventures.
Road closures for both projects have already been implemented as preparation work begins, while trial holes for utilities are under way in Lowestoft.
Demolition of some nearby buildings in Great Yarmouth is also expected to take place later this month.
Farrans Construction is involved with both projects, solely on Gull Wing and in partnership with BAM Nuttall in Great Yarmouth.
Project director Neil Rogers said: "These projects are both at the heart of local towns, and we're looking forward to supporting residents and businesses throughout the construction period and beyond.
"We will do this with employment and apprenticeships opportunities, as well as inviting local companies to bid to be part of the supply chain.
"Our community engagement teams will also be working with local residents, businesses and schoolchildren.
"Large construction projects like these are fantastic opportunities to show younger generations the positive difference made to where they live, as well as inspiring them.
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"We may even find some budding architects, engineers and designers of the future."
The community engagement teams will be taking part in National Apprenticeship Week from February 8, while BAM Nuttall and Farrans will be presenting at East Coast College's NAW webinar on Tuesday, February 9.
Suffolk County Council leader Matthew Hicks said: "I'm looking forward to visiting Lowestoft, when it is permitted to do so, to see where work has begun.
"There will be a lot of preparatory work that goes on behind the scenes and may not be immediately obvious to passers-by, but the Gull Wing is most definitely go.
"I'm delighted to have delivered my commitment to make the Gull Wing a reality and thank you to East Suffolk Council and their partners for their continued support."
Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: "I'm delighted to see work on the long-awaited Third River Crossing get under way and the commitment BAM and Farrans have made to supporting the local economy.
"As well as providing jobs, it will make it much easier for people living and working in the borough to get around and provide crucial support to the town's key industries, including those linked to the offshore energy and maritime sectors, tourism and manufacturing.
"Both these projects are now more important than ever as we eek to help the regional economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic."
The Planning Inspectorate officially gave the green light to Norfolk County Council for the project in September last year, just months after transport secretary Grant Shapps gave the go-ahead for the Lowestoft scheme.
Both projects are aiming to open to the public in 2023.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous, said: "It’s an incredibly exciting time for the East Anglian coast, with these much-needed schemes now under way.
"The government has committed to levelling up across the country and with these two major projects, we are now starting to see this happen in our region.
"The Gull Wing will create local jobs and apprenticeship opportunities in Lowestoft and the Waveney area.
"Local people regularly emphasise the importance of the Gull Wing.
"It is great news that I shall now be able to tell them that the talking is now over, and the work has begun."
Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said: "These are both fantastic projects that will be truly transformational for the whole region.
"The Third River Crossing will significantly improve traffic flows, which will help residents and visitors to get around as well as bring meaningful benefits to local businesses, especially those in the energy sector."