Photos | Farrans takes delivery of first section of Lowestoft Gull Wing bridge

The steel section was loaded onto a barge in Belgium before being transported to Lowestoft (Image courtesy of Victor Buyck Steel Construction)

The first major steel section of the £76m Gull Wing bridge being constructed by Farrans in Lowestoft, Suffolk, has arrived from Belgium.

Farrans began work on the bridge in 2021, with completion expected in 2023. The project, for Suffolk County Council, will be the third crossing of Lake Lothing.

The North Approach Viaduct (NAV1) section of the bridge arrived at the construction site on Lake Lothing on 1 March on a barge following a 32-hour crossing from Ghent in Belgium.

The steel section aboard the barge on its way to the Lowestoft site (Image courtesy of Victor Buyck Steel Construction)

Fabricated by Victor Buyck Steel Construction, NAV1 is approximately 55m long. On delivery it weighed 380 tonnes and, when ready to move into its final position spanning the East Suffolk railway line, it will weigh approximately 1,450 tonnes.

Over the coming days it will be 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.

NAV 1’s arrival date was dependent on favourable weather conditions and it needed to arrive during a slack tide to travel into the inner harbour.

When complete, the lifting bridge will operate several times a day to allow boats access and egress to the harbour and the North Sea.

Neil Rogers, project director on Gull Wing bridge for Farrans, said: “The arrival of NAV 1 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.

Artist’s impression of how the Gull Wing lifting bridge will look when complete

“Victor Buyck began manufacturing this structure 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.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks, leader of Suffolk County Council, added: “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.”

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