Construction of Lowestoft’s Gull Wing will get underway early in 2021, following final approval of the scheme today (Wednesday 25 November 2020) by the Government.
The Gull Wing project team at Suffolk County Council received official confirmation that its full business case has been approved, meaning that the £73.39m funding from the Department of Transport can now be accessed.
With this final milestone now reached, the contract with building and civil engineering contractor, Farrans, will be signed. Other formalities such as formally acquiring land can also be completed, paving the way for construction work to start in the new year.
Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “I’m delighted with the announcement from the Government today, which means that the Gull Wing is go. With this news, the final step in our application to build this bridge is now complete.
“We can now access the funding, sign the construction contract and start building the bridge. Any doubts are now over and we will get spades into the ground early in the new year to build Lowestoft’s third crossing.”
Peter Aldous, Member of Parliament for Waveney, said: “This news is extremely welcome and is a real positive boost for the residents of Lowestoft. I’d like to commend Suffolk County Council on their commitment to this project and to the town. The official processes are now complete and we will see construction start in the new year. Our skyline is about to change forever, for the better.”
Councillor Steve Gallant, leader of East Suffolk Council, said: “It’s great to hear that work on the Gull Wing can now begin. Lowestoft and the region should be proud of all the ambition and vision being developed to support local residents and businesses, from the town’s Masterplan to the flood defence works. The Gull Wing will be iconic and be a statement of intent for the future of the town.”
New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership invested £2m from its Growth Deal from Government in the feasibility study into the bridge.
Chief executive Chris Starkie said: “This announcement heralds a new era for Lowestoft and, combined with the confirmation of funding for the Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth, this will make our region even more attractive to investors in terms of its connectivity and growing reputation as a hub for the energy sector.”
Archaeology surveys have already taken place on site and further preliminary groundwork will continue in the coming months, to allow construction work to begin in the spring of 2021. The Gull Wing is planned to open in the summer of 2023.