Funding worth £98m secured for Yarmouth's Third River Crossing

An artist's impression of Great Yarmouth's Third River Crossing.

Great Yarmouth's vision for a Third River Crossing, for which construction will begin in 2021 and be finished by 2023. - Credit: BAM Farrans/ Norfolk County Council

Funding worth £98m for the long-awaited Third River Crossing spanning the River Yare in Great Yarmouth has been approved by the government.

This follows the Planning Inspectorate's decision in September to give Norfolk County Council the go-ahead to build and operate the new lifting bridge linking the A47 at Harfrey’s roundabout to the port and the enterprise zone on the other side of the river.

It is hoped the bridge will ease traffic congestion and support economic opportunities in the town and wider borough.

An artist's impression of Great Yarmouth's Third River Crossing.

A view of the proposed Third River Crossing in Great Yarmouth - Credit: BAM Farrans/ Norfolk County Council

The council has been waiting for ministerial approval of the final business case submitted earlier this autumn in order to unlock the £98 million of national funds to enable construction of the new bridge, following the conclusion of a year long development consent order process.

MORE: ‘A massive, massive benefit’ - Town pleased Third River Crossing will go ahead

An official letter from the Department for Transport was received by the council on Wednesday (November 25), which confirmed the approval of the government contribution to coincide with the Chancellor's Spending Review.

The project is expected to cost £121 million overall, with the remainder of funding coming from local sources. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2021 with the bridge open for use in early 2023.

Graham Plant, deputy leader at both Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “This is fantastic news and means we can now make this much-needed bridge a reality. 

Councillor Graham Plant speaking at the reopening of the Venetian Waterways and Boating Lake in Great Yarmouth.

Graham Plant, deputy leader of Norfolk County and Great Yarmouth Borough councils - Credit: Jamie Honeywood

"Not only will it make getting around so much easier for many people currently living and working in the borough but, crucially, it will support the town’s key industries, including those linked to the offshore energy and maritime sectors, tourism and manufacturing. 

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"This is more important than ever now as we seek to help Norfolk’s economy recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said: "This improved traffic flow will also bring meaningful benefits to local businesses, especially those in the energy sector.” 

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "The crossing will open up key land for redevelopment, helping to maximise the potential of the harbour and the industries which it supports, particularly our world-leading energy sector.”

Chris Starkie, chief executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

Chris Starkie, chief executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership - Credit: Archant

In January 2019, the council announced it had awarded the contract for the Third River Crossing to BAM Farrans, a joint venture between two construction industry leaders. 

As well as being responsible for finalising the design of the twin leaf bascule bridge and its approaches, including a new roundabout on the west side of the river, BAM Farrans will also construct the bridge on behalf of the council.