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Hundreds gather to witness historic moment as Herring Bridge is opened

Norfolk County Council, 1 February 2024 15:50
Photo of Herring Bridge, with bridge raised up and crowd gathered nearby.

Hundreds of residents joined local dignitaries and special guests to assist the grand opening of Herring Bridge in Great Yarmouth today (Thursday 1 February).

The milestone ceremony began with a blessing of the bridge by Revd Canon Simon Ward, Rector of Great Yarmouth, before MP Brandon Lewis unveiled a commemorative plaque.

A convey of vehicles, including classic cars from East Coast Pirates, emergency services, local hauliers and contractors involved in the project's delivery, along with residents with winning tickets to ride the famous Great Yarmouth road train, then made the first trip across Herring Bridge.

Following the procession was including motorbikes and members from local scooter and cycling clubs, as well as local running club and pupils from nearby schools.

Once the procession had finished its journey, Cllr Barry Stone, chairman of Norfolk County Council, cut the ribbon on the South Denes side of the bridge and Cllr Penny Carpenter, Mayor of Great Yarmouth cut the ribbon on the Gorleston side of the bridge. Afterwards, the public were welcomed onto the bridge for the first time.

Music provided by Harbour Radio played in the background as the general public took the first steps onto the towns new river crossing.

Councillor Kay Mason Billig, County Council leader, said: "Delivery of this bridge for the people of Norfolk has been a top priority for our council for a number of years and to see it opened today is a fantastic achievement. It will bring much prosperity to the area for many years to come and help us grow our regional economy whilst also demonstrating to Government that if they invest in Norfolk we can get the job done."

Cllr Graham Plant, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport said: "Like most people in Great Yarmouth, I have wanted to see this project delivered for many years and I'm delighted to see it become a reality.

"An incredible amount of work has been undertaken to get this bridge built, in times of great adversity. I would like to pay tribute to all those who have made it possible and for the incredible patience of the local community whilst works have been carried out. We can all now begin to enjoy the benefits these new transport links will bring our town and wider region."

Carl Smith, leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: "I would like to pay tribute to all those involved in the delivery of this new third river crossing. The Herring Bridge will make the town even more attractive to visitors in support of the borough's vital tourism industry, better connect the borough and help ease traffic congestion on the town's roads, shortening travel times and improving journey reliability."

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, said: "The Third River Crossing will have a profound impact on the town and wider borough. Great Yarmouth has seen hundreds of millions in investment from the Government and this bridge is the cornerstone of the programme of renewal. I am delighted to see it open and would like to thank all of those involved in bringing this project to fulfilment."

Cllr Penny Carpenter, Mayor of Great Yarmouth, said: "Thanks to the hard work of our partners at Norfolk County Council and all of those involved in delivering this superb new bridge. I'm delighted that so many of the community joined us today to witness, and be part of, this historic moment for our town. Herring Bridge will have a massive positive impact on our residents for generations to come."

The newly improved Harfrey's roundabout, which was funded with over £4m from National Highways, forms part of the principal access route from the south into the town alongside the new Herring Bridge.

Matt Stafford, National Highways' Regional Director for Major Projects in the East, said: "This is a great day for Great Yarmouth and is an example of what can be achieved when people come together and work collaboratively.

"To minimise disruption, we partnered with Norfolk County Council and redeveloped Harfrey's roundabout at the same time as the construction of the new bridge. This streamlined the process and made sense all round.

"The roundabout and the bridge significantly improve access to the seafront and the port. This is great news for both the local and regionally economy and forms part of over half a billion pounds of road improvements National Highways plans to deliver to the A47 between Peterborough and Great Yarmouth."

Tony Mulholland, Project Director, Farrans Construction and Alan Cox, Managing Director Regions & Transport at BAM said "The opening event is an excellent milestone for the many organisations involved, but no more so than for the local community. Delivered by BAM Farrans Joint Venture, with significant support from the local supply chain, the project has overcome numerous challenges to upgrade existing and deliver new infrastructure enhancing local employment and connectivity in Great Yarmouth.

"Part of our legacy to the town has been to inspire employment within the construction industry and engineers of the future. We are very proud of the team that collaborated with Norfolk County Council to design and construct this interesting civil engineering scheme."

C-J Green, Chair of New Anglia LEP, highlighted the wider economic benefits of the Herring Bridge. "Congratulations to everyone who has delivered the Herring Bridge. It will benefit the local community and wider economy, opening up direct routes and supporting businesses involved in offshore energy, maritime sector, tourism and manufacturing. It will also give better access to the Operations & Maintenance Campus and Enterprise Zones - a great boost for the area!"

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: "It is fantastic news that Great Yarmouth's new Herring Bridge crossing is opening today thanks to £98m of Government investment in the project.

"The opening of Herring Bridge will be transformational for the people of Great Yarmouth, bringing huge benefits to the region and showing that this Government has a plan to invest in new infrastructure, improve journeys and grow the economy."

Printed copies of the souvenir programme are available for free from Great Yarmouth Town Hall.

'Herring Bridge' takes its name from the herring industry which once dominated Great Yarmouth in this area of the port. The name was put forward multiple times by local residents in a competition held in Autumn 2022 which attracted over 300 suggestions. A naming committee consisting of local political and community leaders discussed the suggestions at length and selected five possible options for a public vote in early 2023, with Herring Bridge being voted the favourite.

Last modified: 14 May 2024 13:20