Third crossing campaign steps forward
A CAMPAIGN to secure vital funding for a third bridge for Lowestoft has entered a crucial phase after a study to find the best location was launched.The Highways Agency has confirmed that expert road consultants have been commissioned to investigate where a third crossing over Lake Lothing should go.
A CAMPAIGN to secure vital funding for a third bridge for Lowestoft has entered a crucial phase after a study to find the best location was launched.
The Highways Agency has confirmed that expert road consultants have been commissioned to investigate where a third crossing over Lake Lothing should go.
The report will be completed before the end of the year in time for the scheme to be entered into a bid for regional funding, which is the key to getting the project off the ground.
Waveney MP Bob Blizzard said: “The ball is well and truly rolling now. Down all the years, with all the talk, we've never even had a scheme on a list or a location for the third crossing we all want. Now we will soon know where it will be and we can push to get the scheme up the regional priority list.”
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Mr Blizzard persuaded the High-ways Agency to pay for the study as compensation for the delayed repairs project to the bascule bridge.
Long traffic queues created by closures of the bridge for work have given campaigners ammunition in their fight for a third crossing.
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A new bridge has been earmarked as part of the 1st East Urban Regeneration Company's blueprint to breathe new life into waterfront areas across Lowestoft, but funding has yet to be secured.
Campaigners first need to get the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), mostly made up of councillor representatives, to place the third-crossing project on a priority list. This is then submitted to the Department for Transport for funding from the regional allocation.
1st East's action plan has previously highlighted two possible locations for a new bridge - close to the existing bascule bridge and near the centre of Lake Lothing - and the new report by road consultants Faber Maunsell will build on work already carried out.
Mr Blizzard added: “It's vital for 1st East's regeneration of derelict land around Lake Lothing to know the location of the third crossing.”
Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for roads and transport Guy McGregor, who also advises EERA in his role as chairman of the region's transport portfolio holders' group, estimated a new bridge would cost about £40m and warned it would face stiff competition from other projects.
Mr McGregor said: “We'll do our best in Suffolk to present the needs of transport schemes in Suffolk, but it's up to the Highways Agency to present the case for a third crossing in Lowestoft...”