Government to contribute £98m for third river crossing in Great Yarmouth
- Credit: Archant
The chancellor Philip Hammond has committed £98m towards the cost of a new bridge in Great Yarmouth.
The long-awaited third river crossing is aimed at alleviating congestion and boosting investment in the port and Enterprise Zones which support the offshore sector.
In March Norfolk County Council said they would 'bridge the gap' covering 20pc of the total cost, around £24m.
The bridge will link the newly-renumbered A47 (formerly A12) at the Harfreys roundabout in the Southtown area of Yarmouth to the port and the Enterprise Zones on the other side of the river in South Denes Road.
Leader of Norfolk County Council, Cliff Jordan, said: 'This is a fantastic day for Great Yarmouth and for the whole of Norfolk. The government doesn't dish out money lightly so this is a real show of ministers' commitment and faith in the third river crossing and the benefits it will bring. It's a huge step forward for the project and we'll keep cracking on to get the bridge built as soon as possible.'
Chairman of the county's transport committee Martin Wilby said it was brilliant news.
He added: 'I'm really pleased for the people and businesses of Yarmouth who need and deserve a third river crossing. A new bridge will help tackle the town's traffic congestion and make it easier and more attractive to visit and do business there, which is good for Yarmouth's future and its economy and therefore good for Norfolk.
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'It's taken a lot of dedication and determination by the council and its partners to get us here, and I'm grateful to each and every person who's been involved and backed our efforts to win this funding. I believe having such strong and widespread support for the project really helped us bring this investment into Norfolk.'
Leader of Great Yarmouth Borough Council Graham Plant also said it was fantastic news.
He added: 'This reflects the huge confidence in the local and regional economies, the strength of the business case for the crossing, and the sterling lobbying work of many partners.
'As England's energy sector capital and a top UK coastal resort, Great Yarmouth has huge opportunities on the horizon. The benefits of the crossing for our residents, businesses and visitors are significant, improving traffic connections, creating thousands of jobs and unlocking further business, regeneration and economic growth opportunities.
'This announcement is a vital step forward, and the borough council is absolutely committed to continuing to work with the county council and other partners to ensure this important piece of infrastructure does become a reality.'
Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis said he was proud that local efforts to lobby for the project had paid off.
He added: 'I have been part of the local campaign in support of this project, alongside businesses, residents and members of both Norfolk County Council and Great Yarmouth Borough Council. I am immensely proud that the business case and hard work has paid off, and that this project can now move forward.
'The Third River Crossing will provide massive potential for our businesses, as well as improving traffic flow in the constituency, and I look forward to seeing the opportunities that this will open up.'
Commenting on the announcement, Nova Fairbank, public affairs manager for the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce said: 'Norfolk Chamber is delighted with the awarding of this much needed funding to Great Yarmouth. This shows the strength of the joint partnership working in our region, which has been able to effectively communicate the benefits that the third river crossing will help deliver. The funding shows the Government's commitment to supporting greater economic growth and jobs in Great Yarmouth.'
Doug Field, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: 'This is a huge step forward in bringing this vital project closer to delivery. The case we made to Government was a compelling one. The third river crossing is key to increasing our productivity, attracting inward investment and retaining local talent. It will help to create thousands of new jobs and reduce congestion which costs our local business time, money and customers.'
Since 2003 Norfolk County Council has invested close to £4m towards a third river crossing for Great Yarmouth.
This includes £1.1m to identify the preferred crossing type and route and £2.8m to acquire properties and land to safeguard the route.
The route was adopted by the council's cabinet in 2009.
Norfolk County Council says the third river crossing scheme could deliver up to 5,000 jobs and it could add £150m per year to the local economy.
It is said the scheme would reduce congestion by removing 1,000 and 200 vehicles from Haven and Breydon Bridges respectively in peak periods and lead to shorter journey times.
The idea of a tunnel under the River Yare was rejected as it would be more expensive at £180m.
Great Yarmouth hosts more than a third of all tourists staying in Norfolk and Suffolk worth £577m per year locally - a figure that could be boosted with a new crossing for the and the wider economy of the region.