Work to start on Somerleyton bridge

Boat and train journeys will be affected when a �1.6m programme of repairs on the damaged swing bridge at Somerleyton gets under way later this month.

Passage under the bridge has been limited throughout the summer because of problems with the swing mechanism. Engineers from Network Rail are planning to carry out major repairs from Saturday October 23 until Sunday 31, with the central swing bearings being replaced and the wheels which support the bridge as it swings renewed.

The bridge will not be able to swing, but boats will be able to pass underneath from midnight to 9am, from noon to 1pm, from 5pm to 6pm and from 8pm to midnight. Clearance width will be 5.4m (18ft).

From October 31 to November 5, while engineers finish the work on the bridge, passage will be allowed from midnight to 9am, from midday to 1pm, from 4pm to 5pm and from 8pm to midnight.

Norwich to Lowestoft train services will be replaced by buses, though some trains will run between Norwich and Reedham before being diverted to Great Yarmouth. Buses will run between Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft.

Broads Authority director of waterways Trudi Wakelin said: 'As a result of intense negotiations we have secured some limited opportunities to give boaters access to this picturesque part of the River Waveney, but they will need to plan their voyage carefully.'

Andrew Munden, Network Rail's route director, said work would take place during half term week while the railway line is quieter.

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