Suffolk bridge works taking longer than expected

Farrans has asked for two extra months to complete highway works as part of a bascule-bridge project in Suffolk.

The Belfast-based contractor applied for the closure of Denmark Road in Lowestoft to be extended until the end of October.

Suffolk County Council announced that works on the approach to the Gull Wing Bridge – valued at £76m by Farrans – are taking longer than expected.

Denmark Road has been closed since 1 March and was expected to reopen by 31 August.

But council project director Simon Bretherton said this week: “The Gull Wing Bridge would be a complex and challenging infrastructure project at the best of times, to say nothing of the challenges of Covid and the global supply issues we have faced in the past few years.

“We will continue to work with our contractor Farrans to complete the remaining works as quickly as we can. Although there will be some disruption in the short term, the long-term benefits of the new bridge will be felt for many decades to come.”

Construction News approached Farrans for further comment.

Construction work on the Gull Wing Bridge began in spring 2021. Seven of the eight spans have already been lifted into place, and concreting of the deck slabs is underway on both sides of Lake Lothing.

A control room is under construction, while a plant-room building is being fitted out with power supply, hydraulic pumps, communications equipment and other services.

The main bascule span is expected to be installed early next year as the final and most complex element of the project.

Bretherton said: “Residents can see for themselves the substantial progress made during the past few months, as the local skyline is punctuated by the new structure, and the scale of this project becomes more apparent each day.

“Significant risks and challenges do remain, particularly with the installation, testing and commissioning of the moving bascule span. A clearer view of the timetable for its completion and opening will emerge as we undertake that final major component during a closure of the main navigation channel in the new year.”

Once complete, there will be a period of commissioning and staff training before the bridge may be opened to the public.

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