Joy as work finally set to start to restore Great Yarmouth’s Vauxhall Bridge

Heritage campaigners are thrilled at news that work is finally to begin on restoring Great Yarmouth's historic Vauxhall Bridge.

Engineers will be arriving on Monday, November 5 to breathe new life into the eastern span of the Grade II-listed bridge which is an important gateway to the town, connecting the station and Asda to North Quay for pedestrians and cyclists.

The �630,000 project, scheduled to take 20 weeks, will involve cleaning the historic box beams and connecting transverse beams back to the bare metal before they are repaired and painted.

Contractor May Gurney will tackle the underside of the bridge in the first four weeks, which will mean closing the bridge to boats on the River Bure from November 12 to 16 and November 19 to 23.

The restoration was originally due to start in August, following exploratory work, but complications over planning the project caused a delay.

Norfolk County Council project manager David Wardale said: 'The difficulty of working over water meant a rethink on how we did it.'

Bridge campaigner Miriam Kikis, who runs the nearby Seafood Restaurant with her husband Chris, said: 'I am delighted with the fact that we have a date for the work to begin. It has been a struggle to get the money together and to overcome the various obstacles we had to face.

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'I cannot thank enough the local companies who donated money towards the bridge. I have had donations from �20 to �5,000 and I am very grateful to everybody.'

She stressed money would still need to be raised to renovate the western span and welcomed news comedian Jim Davidson had offered his help with publicity and fundraising.

About �365,000 of funding for the project has come from the Fair Shares National Lottery whose local agent is the charity Community Connections.

Charity spokesman John Drinkill said it had been a long road to reach this point.

He hoped the start of work would enable Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust to obtain the necessary funding for phase two.

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