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Yare river crossing costs rise

PUBLISHED: 14:08 16 September 2009 | UPDATED: 13:45 06 July 2010

A proposal to build a new bridge across Yarmouth's River Yare will cost more than originally planned, it was revealed yesterday.

A proposal to build a new bridge across Yarmouth's River Yare will cost more than originally planned, it was revealed yesterday.

In June planners said a bridge spanning from the Harfreys roundabout and parts of Southtown to South Denes would cost £80m.

But Yarmouth Borough Council has been told that the costs for the bridge have now risen to £112m.

Despite the mounting cost councillors will be asked to choose the bridge as the preferred option for a new river crossing as the rival option, a tunnel, will now cost £375m instead of £180m.

If government funding is secured for the crossing then work on the bridge could start in 2012 - leading to the demolition of 35 homes in Queen Anne's Road and Southtown Road.

On Wednesday the borough council's cabinet will hear the bridge's cost has risen by £32m because of inflation and a tendency for planners to be over optimistic about project costs.

As well as being cheaper than a tunnel, the lift bridge will now be able to carry more cars after port bosses said it would not be raised as much as originally predicted.

If the bridge is built it will handle 23,000 vehicle movements a day, and pedestrians - helping out Yarmouth's other clogged up main routes by cutting traffic flow by 20pc.

In draft plans the bridge was only able to take a predicted 15,000 movements a day.

If it is built the bridge would last 120 years and it is likely that tolls would have to be introduced to meet construction and running costs.

The third river crossing is needed because in the next 20 years as 12,000 people and new businesses will move to the borough.

Cabinet members will be told by planners to select the bridge as the preferred river crossing route which is a Norfolk County Council transport project.

Peter Warner, head of planning and development, said: “The council's preference is for the construction of a bridge to meet the existing and future medium and long-term economic development and transportation needs of the borough and its wider hinterland.”

Revised tunnel option plans say it will now cost £375m instead of £180m and would take 21,400 vehicle movements a day. It would mean only five homes and 12 businesses would need to be knocked down.

Norfolk County Council's cabinet will meet on November 9 to decide if the bridge or tunnel will become the third river crossing option.

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