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Final Bascule Span Arrives for Gull Wing bridge

Gull Wing Bridge

The final section of the Gull Wing Bridge in Lowestoft has arrived bringing the completion of this significant infrastructure project one step closer.

Subject to favourable weather conditions, Lake Lothing will now be closed to marine traffic for three weeks from Friday 8 March while the main bascule span is installed.

The bascule span is 39.5m long, 22m wide and 35m tall and will weigh approx. 1120 tonnes when delivered to site and positioned. This is made up of 750 tonnes of permanent structural steelwork and an additional 370 tonnes of temporary ballast to ensure the bridge stability during installation.

An additional counterweight of heavyweight concrete will be placed within the J-beams during the installation and commissioning phase of approx. 380 tonnes resulting in the total weight of the bridge during operation being approx. 1100 tonnes.

The bridge, when installed, will sit clear of the highest tide by 12m, meaning that the tips of the J-beams will usually be well over 50m above the sea below. When the bridge is rolled back in the open position, the end of the bridge span that carries the road will be over 60m above the tide below.

The completed bascule bridge will be the largest rolling bascule bridge in the world lifted using hydraulic cylinders.

Cllr Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said:

“The arrival of the bascule span into Lowestoft signals that we are in the home stretch of this significant project. The long-awaited Gull Wing bridge will make travel between north and south Lowestoft easier, reduce traffic congestion, and be a catalyst for regeneration. It is a promise delivered for the people of Lowestoft and Suffolk.”

Simon Bretherton, Project Director at Suffolk County Council, said:

“As well as the most challenging, this is the most impressive of all the Gull Wing deliveries and the huge J beams will transform Lowestoft’s skyline. Over the coming days, we will begin positioning the bascule span ready for its installation. There are still challenges and risks to overcome, but, once installed, we will enter into the final commissioning phase and begin making preparations for opening the bridge to the public.”

Tristram Browne, Project Manager for Farrans Construction, said:

“The arrival of the signature sections of the Gull Wing bridge is another exciting milestone for our team, our client and for the town of Lowestoft. The forthcoming installation is a highly technical and challenging feat of civil engineering which will take place over the next three weeks. Our team is well prepared and we are looking forward to working with our supply chain to safely install and commission the bascule bridge span, progressing this important project further towards completion. 

“We hope that the anticipation surrounding this project will inspire more young people to consider the career opportunities that exist within this industry, and we have been proud to deliver many workshops and site visits for local schools since the start of this project.”

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