WATCH: Homes torn down to make way for new £121m river crossing

Demolition to make way for Great Yarmouth's third river crossing

Homes in Queen Anne's Road, Great Yarmouth, being demolished to make way for the third river crossing being delivered by Norfolk County Council. The bridge is billed as 'more important than ever' as the country recovers from coronavirus. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Houses condemned for being in the way of a new bridge are being torn down as a two-year project gets under way.

A workforce of around 100 is on site around Southtown Road and William Adams Way in Great Yarmouth preparing for the new £121m crossing.

BAM Farrans Joint Venture Project Director Tony Mulholland

BAM Farrans Joint Venture Project Director Tony Mulholland says work on Great Yarmouth's third river crossing is progressing well. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Project director Tony Mulholland said the aim was to get all demolition work done by the end of April as the project reaches its "first key milestone".

First to face the jaws of giant machines are homes in Queen Anne's Road. The whole terrace will likely be down by the end of the week.

A further row is being torn down in Southtown Road, alongside some commercial buildings and a car sales operation on the other side of the river in South Denes.

Southtown Road demolition Great Yarmouth

Hoardings being put up in front of Brighton Terrace in Southtown Road ahead of their demolition. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Brick rubble is being re-used in the construction, and the Brighton Terrace date stone will be saved and made a feature of.

The project is just weeks into a two-year build which will see a new flyover and bridge bring a third river crossing to Great Yarmouth taking traffic away from Hall Quay and Haven Bridge where more changes are planned.

It involves cutting a path from the Harfrey's roundabout, and passing just north of Queen Anne's Road, through commercial units and houses in Southtown Road, then across the river landing near the Grade II listed Dolphin pub which is staying.

On the Southtown side of the river it means major works including the construction of a new roundabout close to Simpsons garage.

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William Adams Way will be widened to create a dual carriageway.

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

On the South Denes side the lifting bridge, which will stand around 7m tall, will connect with the existing road network.

Mr Mulholland said the most challenging section would be when it came to working in the river.

The bridge itself is being built in two halves in Belgium and will be floated over by barge.

Installing it will mean completely closing the river to traffic for 72 hours and timing the operation almost to the second.

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

Although the area has been turned into a building site, when finished it will be landscaped and much improved for those still living there with cycle routes and trees, Mr Mulholland said.

Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council’s deputy leader, said: “A great deal of work has gone into getting us to this point and I’m delighted to see us reach this first key milestone in making the long awaited Third River Crossing a reality for the people of Great Yarmouth.

“It’s a highly significant infrastructure project for the county council which will integrate with several other local development projects set to transform the town of Great Yarmouth in the coming years, creating local jobs both now and in the future.

Third river crossing Great Yarmouth

An action man pinned to metal fencing screening the demolition site in the path of Great Yarmouth's third river crossing due to open in the first half of 2023. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

“It will make it much easier for people living and working in the borough to get around and provide crucial support to the town’s key industries, including those linked to the offshore energy and maritime sectors, tourism and manufacturing.

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

All demolition works in this first phase of the construction will be completed by the end of April with the new bridge due to open to the public in 2023.

Community engagement officer Malcolm McAllister said there had been a lot of public interest in what was going on, people popping down to document the changes for themselves.

Southtown Road Yarmouth third river crossing

Homes in Southtown Road will be next to be pulled down as work starts on Great Yarmouth's third river crossing. It is expected the improved traffic flows will benefit residents, businesses, and the energy sector. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Because of the pandemic the face-to-face contact he had hoped for had not been able to happen. In the meantime postcards were being sent to people's homes encouraging them to record their memories ahead of an exhibition at the town's Time and Tide Museum.

It will likely be at least 12 months before people will be able to get a proper sense of how things will look.

The bridge will be 120m long with a 50m river span.

It will have capacity to  lift up to 26 times a day although in reality will probably be raised around 12.

Homes pulled down Southtown Road

A colourful rainbow displayed in a window in Southtown Road. The house is empty and among a terrace of large Victorian homes due to be pulled down. - Credit: Ella Wilkinson