Lowestoft: Third crossing costs increase by £54m

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Design plans for Lake Lothing crossingImage source, Suffolk County Council
Image caption,
Plans for the third crossing of Lake Lothing, which divides south and north Lowestoft, were approved earlier this year

It is hoped a town's third waterfront road bridge will still be built despite spending plans increasing by £54m.

A third crossing of Lake Lothing, which aims to improve traffic flow in Lowestoft, Suffolk, was approved by the Department for Transport in April.

Suffolk County Council's cabinet will be asked to vote on the project's final budget of £145.8m next week.

Council leader, Matthew Hicks, said there was a "commitment to build this bridge for the people of Lowestoft".

Original costs were estimated at £91.73m, with £73.39m from the Department for Transport and £18.34m in local contributions - £10m being from the county council.

The new estimated cost of £145.8m includes £19m to provide "an emergency pot of money should any unforeseen issues arise and caters for any further complications caused by coronavirus".

'Eagerly awaited'

Conservative Mr Hicks said there were "many" reasons for the budget increase including "increased land purchase costs and unforeseen delays".

"Lowestoft residents have been waiting a lifetime to see the bridge become a reality... with no other unavoidable delays, we are working towards opening the bridge in the summer of 2023," he said.

Image caption,
The third crossing will be between the existing bascule bridge (pictured) at eastern end of the waterway and the other crossing at Oulton Broad
Image source, Suffolk County Council

No more money will be forthcoming from central government, so if the cabinet approves the plan next week the council will borrow up to £65m and use £6.9m from its existing funds.

Peter Aldous, Conservative MP for Waveney, said the crossing "has been needed for a long time and has been eagerly awaited by people and businesses".

If approved, construction will begin in the spring.

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