Lowestoft tilting bridge costs could rise by £54m

Grant Prior 1 year ago
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The cost of building a tilting bridge over Lake Lothing in Lowestoft could soar by up to £54m.

Suffolk County Council is set to approve plans for Lowestoft’s Lake Lothing Third Crossing next week.

And the council has confirmed the budget has risen from an initial estimate of £91.73m to £126.75m plus an additional contingency of £19m for “unforseen risks”.

BAM Nuttall was originally chosen to design and build the scheme two years ago but the council decided to rebid the job last summer after failing to agree final costs.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, said: “It is true that the estimated cost is now higher than mentioned in our outline business case back in 2015.

“This is for many reasons such as increased land purchase costs and unforeseen delays.

“But our project team has gone into incredible amounts of detail to give us the most accurate cost projections possible for this report.

“This includes an emergency pot of money should any unforeseen issues arise and caters for any further complications caused by coronavirus.

“But thanks to the excellent management of the project, we have been able to keep costs down.

“For example, our decision to put out an open tender for the construction contract last summer, saved us around £12m and a fundamental change in the construction material of the bridge saved around £4.8m.”

Members of the council Cabinet will be asked to approve the project’s final budget next week before a main contractor is chosen in September and construction starts in the Spring of 2021.

Suffolk County Council will spend £6.9m of its own money, receive £73.39m of funding from the Department of Transport and borrow up to £64.96m.

Hicks added: “For every £1 that we spend on the bridge, the region will see £3 in economic benefit – that’s an incredible return.

“Lowestoft residents have been waiting a lifetime to see the bridge become a reality, and in just a few years I hope they will be able to walk across it.

“The project has experienced delays beyond our control, not least the general election in 2019 and of course the coronavirus pandemic.

“With no other unavoidable delays, we are working towards opening the bridge in the summer of 2023.”

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