Town set for four-day bridge closure

The latest closures of the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft will include the longest single shutdown yet, highways chiefs revealed last night. A series of 58-hour closures during October and November caused long traffic tailbacks across the area and now the Highways Agency (HA) has announced three more shutdowns, including one covering a period of four full days.

The latest closures of the Bascule Bridge in Lowestoft will include the longest single shutdown yet, highways chiefs revealed last night.

A series of 58-hour closures during October and November caused long traffic tailbacks across the area and now the Highways Agency (HA) has announced three more shutdowns, including one covering a period of four full days.

The HA revealed it would need extra time to carry out the vital £2.3m maintenance project on the bridge after discovering some mechanical parts were in a worse condition that had previously appeared during inspection.

It meant additional parts were needed but these could not be manufactured and delivered until the New Year.


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The new closure dates are:

t 8pm on Saturday, February 2 until 6am on Tuesday, February 5;

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t 8pm on Saturday, February 23, until 6am on Thursday, February 28;

t 8pm on Saturday, March 15 until 6am on Monday, March 17.

Roger Chenery, project manager for the Highways Agency, said: “To ensure the bridge remains operational for many years to come, it is necessary to conclude these maintenance works.

“The residents, businesses, schools and other organisations in Lowestoft have been very patient and we would like to thank them for their help in ensuring the closures so far have run as smoothly as possible.”

There were fears the new dates would coincide with planned closures of the rail track into Lowestoft, but Mr Chenery added: “We have worked closely with Network Rail, Suffolk County Council and other parties to choose dates that do not clash with other work and to ensure the Bascule Bridge is completed as soon as possible.”

George Swietlik, president of the Lowestoft and Waveney Chamber of Commerce, said it was important to ensure work was completed before the busy holiday season.

“The sooner this is dealt with the better. The last thing the town wants is for this to affect the summer trade,” added Mr Swietlik.

He also stressed that the current problems with the bridge highlighted the longer term need for a third crossing in the town.

As before, the HA has arranged for alternative means of transport to ensure that Lowestoft remains open for business.

Diversion routes for motorists will be put in place, while a temporary footbridge will be set up next to the Bascule Bridge and free park and ride bus services will operate from the former rifle range at Pakefield between 7am and 7pm on weekdays.

Additional pay and display car parking will be available at Marine Parade if other local car parks are full.

t For further details about the maintenance work, visit www.highways.gov.uk or call the Highways Agency information line on 08457 50 40 30.

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