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Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing opening delayed to 2024

Further delays to one of Norfolk's biggest transport construction projects means it will not be open to cars until next year.

Opening of the £121m Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing opening has repeatedly been pushed back, with an unexploded Second World War bomb and the discovery of a vole burrow hampering progress.

And wet weather, the need to change the order of some of the work, moving utility pipes and the revamp work at Harfreys junction has further delayed the opening.

Norfolk County Council bosses said they still could not state when traffic would be able to use the bridge - but it is understood it will not be until 2024.

While contractors BAM Farrans Joint Venture hope river traffic will be able to go under the bridge within weeks they confirmed it is still not ready for road traffic.

Tony Mulholland, project director for the contractor, said: "We are in the final stages of preparing Herring Bridge for opening and we would like to thank the public for their continued patience and support.

Our team is working closely with the port authority to bring the bridge into operation for river traffic, which we anticipate in the coming weeks. The road section will follow thereafter.

“We will provide further details on an opening date following the completion of our marine vessel operations phase.”


When the bridge - named the Herring Bridge after a public vote - got the government go-ahead in 2020, Norfolk County Council hoped it would open in early 2023.

Work on the project started in January 2021 and it was then announced it was likely to open by March 2023.

The bomb was close to two gas pipes and its discovery prompted a four-day operation to defuse it, which saw areas of the town cordoned off and homes evacuated.

The operation ended when the bomb exploded during attempts to make it safe.

It was then hoped the bridge would open in time for the seaside town's summer season, only for the discovery of a vole burrow to further delay the scheme.

Graham Plant, the council's cabinet member for highways, infrastructure and transport, had said voles were "more highly protected than bats" and meant work had to be delayed.

A county council spokesman later clarified that although the vole's burrow had been discovered, investigations failed to reveal the whereabouts of the creature itself.

It meant work could go ahead again, without the need to relocate the animal, with the council saying it would open in September.

That came and went without the bridge opening. The council said an autumn opening was still hoped for, but has conceded that will now not happen.

Mr Plant said: "It is positive news from the contractor that they anticipate the bridge being brought into operation for navigation in the coming weeks.

"We, like most people in Great Yarmouth, want to see the works completed and Herring Bridge open to everyone as soon as possible and we will keep pushing for this.

"It is disappointing that we are not yet able to see the benefits that this fantastic project will bring, but we hope this will now only be a short period of time before we fully open the bridge for everyone to be able to start using it."

Mike Smith-Clare, Labour county councillor for Yarmouth's Nelson and Southtown division, said: "We were told that our much-needed third river crossing would be open in the summer; this was then extended to September and now there’s just a deafening silence as to when it’ll actually be ready to use.

"We know there have been unexpected problems - including a bomb and a pesky vole, but surely with so much still needing to be done, the inability to confirm a definite opening date smacks of an embarrassing failure.

"With no one wanting to say what’s actually happening then maybe the bridge needs to be renamed the Red Herring."

The crossing will link the A47 at Harfreys roundabout to the town's port and the enterprise zone on the other side of the River Yare.

The Department of Transport gave £98m towards the cost of the bridge, with Norfolk County Council covering the rest.

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