Bidding has been opened for contractors hoping to carry out the construction of a new £75 million bridge in Great Yarmouth.
The bridge will be the third crossing of the River Yare in the town, providing a more straightforward crossing between the east and west parts of the town.
It will link Harfreys Roundabout with South Denes Road, and in doing so, this will connect the A47 to the South Denes Business Park, Enterprise Zone, Great Yarmouth Energy Park and the Outer Harbour. All of these lie on the South Denes peninsula, a long and narrow strip of land between the river and the sea.
The single-span bridge will be designed to open in the middle by raising either end to allow ships and boats through, a similar arrangement to the bascule design of Tower Bridge in London. It will have a 50-metre navigable clearance.
The road itself will feature a dual carriageway and work will include the realignment of the existing roads on either side to accommodate the new bridge.
Under the timetable, public consultation on the plan will begin imminently, with a planning application being made next year and the two-year construction process beginning in 2020.
The two existing crossings of the Yare in Great Yarmouth are both at the north end of the town, close to where the river emerges from the sheltered estuary of Breydon Water. The A47 spans the river just north of where the River Bure flows into it, with the Bridge Road crossing to the south. This leaves a long down-river stretch unbridged all the way to the sea.
Indeed, the River Yare has very few road crossings. Between the bridge carrying the A427 across the river on the eastern fringes of Norwich and the A47 bridge, the only ways across the river are by a rail bridge or via one of two car ferries.