New images released of third river crossing as proposal reaches crucial ‘examination’ stage
- Credit: Norfolk County Council
New images showing the sweeping dual-carriageway approach to Great Yarmouth’s third river crossing have been released revealing the scale of the project.
The artist's impressions come as the "examination" process by a planning inspector got underway today (Tuesday, September 24) at Great Yarmouth Racecourse with a preliminary hearing setting out the timetable, followed by an open floor hearing giving anyone the chance to have their say.
Construction of the new lifting bridge over the River Yare is due to begin in late 2020 and would see a bridge built linking the A47 at Harfrey's Roundabout on the western side of the river to South Denes Road opposite.
It is tipped as the answer to the town's congestion problems as well as the key to a brighter economic future.
At the hearing Alan Goodchild, of Goodchild Marine in Burgh Castle, said he was concerned about navigation at a gateway entrance to the Broads.
He said co-ordinating the new bridge with the two that were already there was a big issue for his business which suffered when the river had to close because a bridge was broken.
"It's no good having one bridge that runs smoothly if we have two which do not," he said.
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He said he was also worried about waiting bays for smaller boats on the outside of a bend, creating a risk they could be crushed.
Meanwhile Ben Falat of the Royal Yachting Association aired his concerns about the waiting pontoons which were on the wrong side and akin to putting "a car park on the outside of a bend on the M1" he said.
He added that by reducing the river width and restricting the natural flow of water it was "highly likely" to make rain flooding worse.
The opening regime also needed to be looked at closely he said, adding after the meeting that since the bridge height was dropped from 12.5m to 4.5m it meant opening the bridge 15 times a day instead of three.
Simon Coote of Alicat Workboats said he too was seeking reassurance on how it would affect river access to his boat yard.
Graham Plant, deputy leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council and Norfolk County Council spoke in support of the scheme.
"It is about making connections and getting to destinations," he said.
Mr Plant added that building the third river crossing would mean Haven Bridge - which at 90 years old was becoming unreliable - could be fixed as it needed to be in the up position to be worked on.
"It is really concerning to the whole town that the bridge could break down at any time," he added.
Caroline Fernandez, of Mind, said she was worried about the effect on a community garden and wildlife and the wellbeing of the neighbourhood which would see more traffic and be disrupted by construction.
In November 2017 the project was awarded £98m towards the £120m cost by the Department for Transport.
Then in February 2018 the Secretary of State for Transport confirmed the crossing as a nationally significant project.
As a result, Norfolk County Council was required to make an application for a development consent order which, if granted next year, would give the council the green light to go ahead and start construction in late 2020.
The examination process could take up to six months with a further six months for the inspector to rule and the secretary of state to make a decision.