Lowestoft water taxi to be launched

Terrier Image copyright IBTC
Image caption Terrier will be put into the water for the first time since its restoration

A town that has campaigned for a third bridge to reduce traffic congestion for years is to open a water taxi service.

Lowestoft in Suffolk is served by the single-carriageway Bascule Bridge and another crossing further inland.

The £65,000 water taxi, funded by the government's Coastal Communities Fund, will take foot passengers from Bridge Road to Royal Plain via Lake Lothing.

Shipshape East Anglia project manager David Savill said he hoped the service would be available from late June.

Image copyright IBTC
Image caption Shipwright Petra Potasse and Terrier before the work began
Image copyright IBTC
Image caption The harbour launch was stripped back

The project is based at the International Boatbuilding Training College and the 1954 harbour launch, called Terrier, was restored by two shipwrights and two trainees.

Restoring the boat and setting up the taxi service was part of a larger £631,000 government-funded project to establish a marine heritage hub, to preserve traditional boatbuilding skills.

Image copyright IBTC
Image caption The trainees have been working towards City and Guilds qualifications in traditional skills
Image copyright IBTC
Image caption The boat will be powered by a hybrid beta engine and has a new name plaque

Mr Savill said: "Terrier worked on the Clyde at Glasgow but more recently was in storage until the training college donated it to us to be restored."

The taxi will run hourly between 09:00 and 17:00 and the trip will take 25 minutes.

Mr Savill said it was expected to appeal most to tourists and to meet a seasonal demand, but "come September, if there's still a demand, we'll keep it going".

Image copyright Mike page aerial photography
Image caption The Bascule Bridge connects road traffic between south and north Lowestoft at the inner harbour entrance

Lowestoft has been waiting for a third water crossing for decades, making it one of the country's longest-running planning proposals.

Its single-carriageway Bascule Bridge has been criticised for not being able to cope with the volume of traffic crossing it and for limiting the size of boats that pass beneath it into the harbour.

In January, Suffolk County Council backed a £94m plan to build a third bridge over Lake Lothing in the port town, but a timescale for the project, which will need extra funding, has not been set.

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