The north approach viaduct (NAV1) section arrived at the construction site on Lake Lothing on Tuesday March 1st by barge following a 32-hour crossing from Ghent.
Civil engineering contractor Farrans is constructing the bridge for Suffolk County Council under a £76m contract. [See previous report here.] The steel work is being fabricated by Victor Buyck Steel in Belgium.
NAV1 is approximately 55 metres long. On delivery it weighed 380 tonnes; when ready to move into its final position spanning the East Suffolk railway line, it will weigh approximately 1,450 tonnes.
In the coming days NAV1 will be moved to a 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 railway possession.
The Gull Wing bridge across Lake Lothing is a bascule structure to link Waveney Drive on the south side, with Denmark Road and Peto Way on the north side. It will be a lifting bridge to enable tall vessels to pass through. It will be higher than the existing bascule bridge so more boats should be able to pass underneath without the need to lift.
Local MP Peter Aldous said: “This is an exciting development as people can now begin seeing for themselves the bridge taking shape. Once complete it will transform the way we move around and do business in Lowestoft and will be a landmark of which we can all be proud.”
Farrans project director Neil Rogers 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. 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.”