£2.2m to repair broken bridge and make it 'reliable'

Repair work estimated to cost £16,500 is underway at Haven Bridge in Great Yarmouth.. Photo: George

Repairs are due to start on Monday to fix Haven Bridge which at 91 years old has become unreliable. - Credit: Archant

A major electrical and mechanical upgrade to 91-year-old Haven Bridge is set to get under way on Monday (February 22).

Announcing the works Norfolk County Council said the bridge was once again stuck and that it would be lifted manually until it was fixed and bookable slots provided for mariners who needed to pass under it.

It said the bridge would mostly remain open to road traffic and pedestrians, apart from a limited number of overnight and evening closures, the first of which was likely to be towards the end of March.

In 2020 the bridge was out of action for months, but maintenance and repeated test lifting in November meant it was fully operational for a time.

Haven Bridge shut

Motorists and pedestrians faced disruption last week when at the height of the cold snap Haven Bridge could not be lifted and was shut for several hours. - Credit: submitted

However, a further fault last week when it was reported as being "frozen shut" is still being investigated and it is again unable to lift for river traffic.

Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said the upgrade was expected to resolve many of the issues caused by the lifting bridge’s ageing equipment.

"Residents and businesses in and around Great Yarmouth need this bridge to be reliable, and this is what this work is intended to achieve.

“I’m grateful that we were able to secure the necessary funding from the government to make this vital project possible.”

A statement said the  improvements had been made possible thanks to the £22m highway funding for Norfolk that the Department for Transport announced in May 2020, with £1.2m allocated to the Haven Bridge upgrades.

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It added that despite unknowns due to the age of the structure, and the possibility of other issues being exposed during improvement works, every effort would be made to complete the work as swiftly as possible given the importance of the bridge to both road and river users.

Additional funding will be from the county council’s capital works budget which combined with urgent works completed last year, are expected to bring the total investment in the bridge over the past year to £2.2m.

The aim is to complete the upgrade by early summer.