Lowestoft: Third Crossing campaign boost
THE long-running campaign to get a much-needed third crossing in Lowestoft received a welcome boost this week.The campaign, supported by The Journal, has been calling for the crossing as a vital part of future regeneration for Lowestoft and the surrounding area.
THE long-running campaign to get a much-needed third crossing in Lowestoft received a welcome boost this week.
The campaign, supported by The Journal, has been calling for the crossing as a vital part of future regeneration for Lowestoft and the surrounding area.
Waveney MP Bob Blizzard has been promoting the campaign and this week received support from a government minister.
Transport minister Sadiq Khan has agreed another key step forward towards the crossing by backing Mr Blizzard's request that an economic impact assessment (EIR) be carried out by the Highways Agency.
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This will supply key evidence that will help make the case for future funding of the scheme.
'Back in June I asked the minister to support this next step forward and I am delighted to have received a positive response from him. It keeps the ball rolling for our much needed third crossing.'
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In his letter to the MP Mr Khan writes: 'Following on from our meeting about the potential for a third road crossing of Lake Lothing in Lowestoft, I have reviewed your request for the Highways Agency to undertake an economic impact report to assist with getting the scheme prioritised in the East of England Regional Funding Allocation.
'I think it is a worthwhile exercise to expand on the transport evidence base.
'Consequently, I am pleased to inform you that I have asked the Highways Agency to work with Waveney District Council and 1st East on developing their transport evidence base and in particular, provide a match-funded contribution towards the costs of further analysis which may include an EIR.'
Mr Blizzard is confident the report will conclude that a third crossing will provide substantial economic benefits for Lowestoft and its development plans.
'It will help us persuade the regional assembly (and our representative on it, Suffolk County Council) to prioritise a third crossing for Lowestoft when it draws a future list of schemes to be submitted for government funding. You can't get very far without this important evidence.
'We already have a report which confirms the location of a third crossing and its viability in meeting Department for Transport funding criteria. Now we will have further justification,' he said.
The 1st East regeneration company also welcomed the news.
Philip Watkins, its chief executive, said: 'This is good news - we are beginning to see the results of combined lobbying to raise the third crossing up the government's agenda. 1st East and the Highways Agency will be jointly commissioning an economic impact assessment study which will spell out the business case for a crossing.
'This is a vital step in providing the hard evidence that will be needed to convince future funding bodies that an additional crossing is needed to realise the full regeneration potential around Lake Lothing.'
Meanwhile, the bascule bridge has been closed overnight for three days this week but there have been no reports of any hold-ups or delays. The final closure ended today at 6am.
The work was being carried out by the Highways Agency, which says they have carefully planned it to coincide with maintenance work carried out by the Associated British Ports.
The agency will be completing painting and resurfacing work in October and November, but say further closures will not be necessary.