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Call for funding

PUBLISHED: 17:14 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:58 03 July 2010

TAKING SHAPE: Extra funding is being called for to investigate a third river crossing

TAKING SHAPE: Extra funding is being called for to investigate a third river crossing

Miles Jermy

COUNCILLORS are calling for extra funding to investigate the economic benefits of Great Yarmouth's third river crossing.

A further £50,000 is needed on top of the £300,000 budget set aside for developing the project in the next financial year.

COUNCILLORS are calling for extra funding to investigate the economic benefits of Great Yarmouth's third river crossing.

A further £50,000 is needed on top of the £300,000 budget set aside for developing the project in the next financial year.

An urgent plea was issued for the additional cash at this week's area committee meeting of county councillors representing Great Yarmouth borough.

Committee chairman Cllr Mike Taylor said: “We would like the extra £50,000 to be found and fully support the building of the third river crossing as soon as possible.”

Labour councillor for Lothingland division. Brian Walker recalled that the third river crossing was being discussed back in the early 1960s when he first moved to the town.

He said: “I remember the MP at the time Tony Fell stopping people to ask which option they preferred a bridge or a tunnel.

“The obvious access point is 100 yards either side of Harfreys roundabout, there is a lot of work being done looking at possible routes when that is the obvious location.”

County council principal transport planner Ian Parkes told the meeting it was still possible that work could start on the scheme by 2013. Last week a report warned that funding may not be available until well after 2016 due to a lack of government funding.

“It should be possible to identify the preferred route by autumn next year, the earliest start date is 2013 assuming the money is available and both a road tunnel and bridge are still options,” said Mr Parkes.

“The costs of the tunnel are considerably higher so it would have to provide a much greater economic benefit.

“We have to convince the government that the advantages of the third river crossing will outweigh the costs, which can involve quite complex arguments.

“Had the Environment Agency said a tunnel was not a viable option then we would not explore it.”

Current construction costs range from £67m £75m for a bridge and £131m to £186m for a tunnel, although costs would increase with inflation after 2013.

Most of the money for the crossing will come from the Government's regional funding allocation, which due to other priorities is not likely to be available for at least another eight years.

So far £700,000 has been spent, from a total £1.2m budget, to draw up plans for the scheme, which is seen as essential to the regeneration of the town, in particular the South Denes.

Cllr John Holmes, who represents Nelson and Southtown division, said: “It is good that the county council are taking this so seriously, but previously a preferred route was due to be recommended by next Spring.

“There are many rumours about where the location will be and if it will go alongside the Barrack estate, the sooner we can put to bed where this is going to finish up the better.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Should we be waiting until 2013 for a third river crossing? Will the infrastructure of South Quay and South Denes Road - and Haven Bridge - be able to cope with the expected heavy traffic, on top of normal traffic, when the Outer Harbour is fully operational? Write to Letters at The Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth NR30 2PA or email anne.edwards@archant.co.uk

A ROAD tunnel was proposed in 1967 and planned to link Gorleston with the South Denes (A report on a Second River Crossing by Mott, Hay and Anderson, Civil Consulting Engineers, London). It was promoted by the old County Borough of Great Yarmouth to run from Crab Lane under the High Street and the river to South Denes Road/South Beach Parade.

The land for the western approach is the green open space on the north side of Crab Lane as you approach the Shrublands Way/Magdalen Way/Crab lane/Church Road crossroads in Gorleston. The tunnel itself would have commenced in the vicinity of Middleton Road.

A high level bridge was also considered and found to be much cheaper!

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