Routes for third river crossing unveiled

A PREFERRED route for Great Yarmouth's long-awaited third river crossing will by known by the autumn as potential routes affecting up to 75 properties were revealed this week.

A PREFERRED route for Great Yarmouth's long-awaited third river crossing will by known by the autumn as potential routes affecting up to 75 properties were revealed this week.

Norfolk County Council's cabinet will consider the routes in November, although it is believed the cheaper bridge option will be the front runner.

The county council has spent �800,000 in the last three years on studies and plans for the third river crossing and project manager Mark Firth explained the biggest challenge would be securing funding for the scheme.

A number of funding options are being considered including funds from central government - unlikely to be available until 2018 or later - along with the possibility of European funding and private finance, which could result in the bridge being tolled.

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Mr Firth said: 'The third river crossing has great potential for Yarmouth to solve a number of congestion problems. This will help key junctions in the area including Gapton Hall, Fullers Hill and South Quay. It is fundamental to the future transport strategy for the area.'

A dual carriageway, lifting bridge, with cycle and footpath would start from Harfreys roundabout on the A12 and run through Queen Anne's Road, Southtown Road, and stretch 90m across the River Yare to the South Denes peninsula. Costing �80m, the bridge would take two years to build and divert around 15,000 vehicle movements each day from existing routes.

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Thirty-five homes would have to be demolished.

It would be 7.5m clear of the river meaning leisure craft would be able to pass underneath without the need for opening - the level at Haven Bridge is 3.5m. After consulting with EastPort UK, the county council expects the new bridge would need to be opened nine times a day.

Mr Firth said: 'In discussion with EastPort they have made it clear they would not want a new crossing to interfere with existing river traffic in the inner harbour.'

A tunnel, also dual carriageway, would bring greater traffic benefits, diverting 25,000 vehicle movements a day but it is more expensive at �180m and requires a large amount of engineering work. It would take three years to construct, impacting mainly on commercial properties.

Adrian Gunson, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for planning and transport, said: 'There is no doubt a new crossing would solve a number of problems at a stroke.

'However, it is important to recognise that while a third river crossing may seem a panacea to Yarmouth's traffic ills, it can only be built if money is available.'

Welcoming the consultation, Peter Warner, head of planning at the borough council, said: 'It's good to see it taking place.

'The studies have been done and the feasibility been agreed and clearly the borough would welcome the publics comments.'

He said the council fully supported moves for a third river crossing and that the matter would be discussed by borough councillors at a meeting later in the year.

Public exhibitions where plans for the third river crossing will be on view will take place today and tomorrow in Yarmouth Market Place and in Morrisons car park, in Gorleston, next Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27. Exhibitions on Fridays will be between 11am and 6.30pm and 10am and 6.30pm on Saturdays.

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