Suffolk

Lowestoft third crossing: Cameron pledges "over £70m" for road link

Graphic of the proposed third crossing Image copyright Mouchel 2016
Image caption The proposed third crossing would be a bascule bridge linking Peto Way in north Lowestoft with Tom Crisp Way on the south

Plans for a third river crossing in Lowestoft are to receive £70m of government funding, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.

The bridge would provide a new link between north and south of the town.

Suffolk County Council estimated the total cost of the bridge over Lake Lothing was £80m-100m, with the rest of the funding yet to be confirmed.

Mr Cameron said: "I've seen for myself just how important this is and it's really important it goes ahead."

Image caption David Cameron made the announcement during a visit to Felixstowe where he was campaigning to stay in the European Union
Image copyright Mike Page Aerial Photography
Image caption Lowestoft's waterfront is crossed by the bascule bridge at the harbour end (pictured centre left) and, further inland, at Oulton Broad (pictured top left)
Image caption David Cameron visited Lowestoft during the 2015 election campaign to look at traffic problems on the existing bascule bridge with local MP Peter Aldous
Image caption The existing bascule bridge is raised to allow vessels to pass between Lake Lothing and Lowestoft's outer harbour
Image caption Traffic has to wait on the either side of the existing bascule bridge when it is raised

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In January, the council changed its preferred location for a crossing from near the existing bascule bridge to a more westerly one connecting Peto Way with Tom Crisp Way.

'Second coming'

The prime minister made the new announcement during a visit to Felixstowe.

"I can confirm we will be investing over £70m to make sure this crossing goes ahead," he said.

A county council spokesman said the rest of the money would come from "local funding sources, including Suffolk County Council".

Councillor Mark Bee, former county council leader, said: "This is fantastic news and some people in Lowestoft have told me they have been waiting for it since 1927, but it's been a serious proposal since just after World War Two.

"There's a saying in Lowestoft that the second coming will happen before the third crossing and today that's been turned on its head.

"It will be a bascule bridge, but it will be high enough for most of the boats that go through Lake Lothing, so it will only open quite rarely which will mean traffic flow through Lowestoft will be much-eased."

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, called it a "tremendous boost to the economy of Lowestoft".

He said: "It is thanks to the vision, determination and tireless work of Peter Aldous MP, business leaders, local authorities and many local people who have championed the need for this crossing for decades."

During Mr Cameron's visit he also mentioned the progress of plans the council had submitted for a new crossing at the waterfront in Ipswich, costing between £80-£90m.

"As for the wet dock in Ipswich, we're still looking at that and we're hopeful of making progress, but I can't tell you any more about that today," he said.

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