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Major bridge upgrade well underway, work set to continue through the summer

12 July 2021

Complex work that started in February to upgrade the 91-year-old Haven Bridge in Great Yarmouth is well underway.

The old motors and electrical system have been removed, and new ones that are fit for purpose are set to be installed over the coming months.  Detailed asbestos surveys have been carried out and safe removal completed.  Next steps will include a range of safety improvements, including to the operating and maintenance areas used by bridge engineers, and a number of mechanical parts are undergoing complete refurbishment after having been successfully removed from the bridge last month.

Cllr Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, said: “This major upgrade to replace the lifting bridge’s ageing equipment is designed to give Great Yarmouth the reliable bridge that is needed by both residents and businesses.  We’re grateful for everyone’s patience while the vital scheme is underway and we’re continuing to do everything we can to minimise any disruption to road and river users.”

As expected, the comprehensive upgrade work has revealed age-related problems with the bridge such as the lifting gears and original drive shafts.  This now means that engineers will need to carry on the upgrade over the summer months and potentially into the autumn.  Every effort continues to be made to complete the work as swiftly as possible given the importance of the bridge to both road and river users.

The bridge remains open to road traffic and pedestrians while the work is underway, apart from on a limited number of overnight and evening closure dates.  These closure dates will be publicised nearer the time.  A list of bookable bridge lifting slots will be published to allow mariners planned access while the work is being carried out.

Once complete it is expected that the major upgrade, and urgent works completed last year, will bring the total investment in the bridge to more than £2m.

The improvements have 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.  Additional funding will be from the county council’s capital works budget.

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