£1.2m project to transform Victorian bridge into town’s gateway to The Broads
- Credit: Archant
A Victorian brick bridge with restricted access could provide the 'missing link' between Lowestoft and The Broads.
Waveney District Council has been working with sustainable transport charity Sustrans to investigate how to improve access across Lowestoft's Normanston Railway Bridge.
The bridge, which is located on the south west corner of Normanston Park, is currently only accessible for pedestrians.
However, it is hoped it will soon be available for cyclists also as part of a wider £1.2m project which will also see the building of a pedestrian and cycle bridge over Lake Lothing connecting at Brooke Park.
A WDC spokesman said: 'Following the appointment of Sustrans last year to develop an outline design for the pedestrian and cycle crossing, site investigations are now under way and should be completed next month.
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'We have engaged with a wide range of stakeholders, including nearby residents and both Lowestoft Town Council and Oulton Broad Parish Council.
'We are also working with Network Rail to ensure their input into the proposed design.'
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They added: 'We would hope to submit a planning application this summer for the crossing, which will provide the 'missing link' in the east to west cycle network between the Eastern Coast Path, Lowestoft Ness, Lowestoft College, Normanston Park, Leathes Ham, Oulton Broad, Carlton Marshes and The Broads.'
The work is part of a wider programme of development designed to connect Lowestoft.
At the moment Normanston Railway Bridge is a steep footbridge which is not useable for bicycles, prams or pushchairs.
It has stepped access with unsurfaced paths either side of Constable Close and Harbour Road.
As such it limits connections between north and south Lowestoft as well as access to residential areas and education and community facilities,
The design stage of the project is expected to cost around £120,000 – with the subsequent building work, project management, legal fees and site investigations bringing the total cost to £1.2m.
Funding for the project has been raised through the Community Infrastructure Levy paid by developers from other projects across Lowestoft.
Philip Broadbent Yale, Sustrans network development manager, said: 'This is an exciting opportunity to provide a safe route with 'access for all' between east and west Lowestoft.'