The first major steel section of the new Gull Wing bridge at Lake Lothing in Lowestoft has arrived.
The North Approach Viaduct (NAV1) section arrived at the construction site on a barge following a 32-hour crossing from Ghent in Belgium.
On delivery NAV1, which was fabricated by Victor Buyck Steel Construction and is approximately 55 metres long, weighed 380 tonnes. When ready to move into its final position spanning the East Suffolk railway line, it will weigh approximately 1,450 tonnes.
Building and civil engineering contractor Farrans is constructing the £125m bridge for Suffolk County Council.
Council leader Matthew Hicks said: ‘I am delighted to welcome the arrival of the first section of a bridge that will make a huge difference to people and businesses in Lowestoft for many years to come.
‘It will remove a major impediment to growth by reducing congestion and improving connectivity, something that is central to the regeneration of not just Lowestoft but the wider Suffolk and Norfolk region.’
A team of civil engineers, port masters and marine experts oversaw the complex process of navigating the barge into the inner harbour and then transferring the steel structure from the barge onto the site.
It is now being moved to a special platform where a concrete slab deck will be cast in situ before the entire span is moved and placed in its final position during a weekend long railway possession.
Neil Rogers, project director for Farrans, said: ‘The arrival of NAV1 is an important milestone for the progress of the Gull Wing project and also for our team, who have been working hard to prepare for the technical challenges involved in receiving and moving such a large section of the bridge.
‘Victor Buyck began manufacturing this structure back in July 2021 and we are pleased to now have this integral piece on site, following meticulous organisation in both Belgium and in Lowestoft.
‘More large sections will be arriving during the coming months and the local community will be able to see the bridge coming together above the water line. Work has been progressing well and there have been significant changes to the landscape of the site throughout the last year.’
The project is funded with £73m through the Local Growth Fund and will provide a third crossing over Lake Lothing. The bridge is due to open next year.