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Pressure mounts on government to announce bridge start date

PUBLISHED: 08:10 12 January 2020 | UPDATED: 08:10 12 January 2020

Visualisations of the proposed third crossing in Lowestoft. Pictures: Suffolk County Council

Visualisations of the proposed third crossing in Lowestoft. Pictures: Suffolk County Council

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An MP is pressing the case for a much-needed crossing to be built.

Visualisations of the proposed third crossing in Lowestoft. Pictures: Suffolk County CouncilVisualisations of the proposed third crossing in Lowestoft. Pictures: Suffolk County Council

With the long-awaited decision on Lowestoft's Third Crossing delayed due to the general election, Waveney MP Peter Aldous is hopeful of an announcement soon.

The progress of Lowestoft's Lake Lothing third crossing was delayed as the country went to the polls last month.

The sign highlighting that the land close to Lake Lothing has been acquired for the third crossing in Lowestoft. Picture: Nick ButcherThe sign highlighting that the land close to Lake Lothing has been acquired for the third crossing in Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

Transport secretary Grant Shapps was due to make a decision on the project by December 5, but with the government dissolved from November 6, the final say was delayed.

Back in November a spokesman for the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed a decision would be made "as soon as possible" after the general election, once ministers were able to review the proposals presented.

With a statement likely to be made to Parliament setting a new deadline, Mr Aldous said: "I am in correspondence with the ministers to find out when the decision will be announced.

"They had a specific date, which would have been around December 5/6, but the general election overtook that.

"What I am now pressing them for is to make that decision as quickly as possible.

"I am talking to the ministers and in correspondence with them to get this done soon."

With Suffolk County Council submitting the Outline Business Case for the third crossing in December 2015, the bridge is planned to open in 2022.

In November, the county council said they looked forward to receiving a decision on the Lake Lothing application once the new Parliament was in session, as "just a short interruption to the process" was anticipated.

A spokesman said: "The general election will not affect our timetable for tendering the construction contract, which we announced on October 14."

Mr Aldous added: "In the meantime I have also spoken with Suffolk County Council.

"They are continuing to have the dialogue with the contractors so that they are ready to go in the spring time.

"The process of who they decide to tender the construction contract to is ongoing."

If plans for the crossing are given the green light, construction is expected to begin almost immediately with the aim of opening the bridge in 2022.

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