'We're keen to get started' - key planning decision keeps third river crossing on target for 2020
PUBLISHED: 17:04 28 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:44 28 May 2019
Norfolk County Council
A six month examination into a third river crossing for Great Yarmouth is set to begin later this year after a key hurdle was cleared.
Norfolk County Council submitted a development consent order to the Planning Inspectorate in April.
Today (May 28), members learned the order has been accepted - a crucial decision which is being hailed as bringing the bridge "one step closer".
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.
MORE: Watch this virtual drone footage showing what third crossing will look like
Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport at Norfolk County Council, said: "A huge amount of time, effort and expertise went into getting this application in and we're all really pleased it's been accepted.
"This keeps us on track to hopefully be granted a development consent order by the end of summer next year, start construction by the end of 2020, and get the third river crossing open to traffic by early 2023.
"We expect the new bridge to make a big difference to Great Yarmouth, reducing traffic congestion, making it easier and quicker for people to get around, and improving access from the port and enterprise zone to the A47.
"We're keen to get started and this decision from the Planning Inspectorate is another important step along the way."
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Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said the bridge would be a huge boost, helping to create thousands of jobs and unlock further business, regeneration and economic growth opportunities.
He said: "This news is another positive step forward for this nationally-significant infrastructure project."
Sarah Richards, chief executive of the Planning Inspectorate said: "We have considered very carefully the application submitted by Norfolk County Council and decided that it meets the required tests set out in the legislation to be accepted for examination.
"Of course, this does not mean that consent has been given for the project to go ahead - acceptance of the application simply means that the examining authority can begin to make arrangements for the formal examination of the application."
In November 2017 the project was awarded £9m towards the anticipated £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.
In January this year, the council announced it had awarded the contract to BAM Farrans, a joint venture between two construction industry leaders.
Since their appointment, BAM Nuttall and Farrans Construction have finalised the design of the twin leaf bascule bridge with the counterweights below-deck.
BAM Farrans will also construct the bridge on behalf of the county council.