WE NEED TO SHOUT LOUDLY ABOUT OUR INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS
Published 24 November 2021
Many local business people and politicians expressed disappointment last week when the Government’s big announcement on rail once again saw the Eastern region somehow left out again. So it’s refreshing to be able to report on strong progress in another transport infrastructure project which is likely to have a big impact on the regeneration of one of Norfolk’s most important strategic sites.
New aerial photographs were recently published showing the emerging structure of the third river crossing in Great Yarmouth. Construction started on this important project in January, and the first traffic is likely to use the new bridge early in 2023.
When complete, a new lifting bridge will link the A47 (formerly the A12) at the Harfrey’s roundabout in the Southtown area of Yarmouth to the other side of the river.
The third river crossing will transform the accessibility to South Denes, a 340 acre strategic regeneration site which includes the Great Yarmouth Energy Park, the Enterprise Zone and the Outer Harbour.
The new bridge will ease traffic congestion on the town’s roads (currently all traffic heading for South Denes has to pass through the town centre), shorten journey times, and, most importantly, support efforts to maximise investment, regeneration and economic growth opportunities in South Denes, in Great Yarmouth more generally, and across the whole borough.
This crucial strategic infrastructure project only became possible because of the success by those behind the plan in securing £98 million of the £121 million total cost from the Department of Transport. It’s a substantial investment in Norfolk by central government, in stark contrast to Whitehall’s continued failure to invest in our region’s rail infrastructure.
However, let’s be positive: the third river crossing will be completed in 2023, just as work starts to dual the A47. Both of these improvements will reinforce Great Yarmouth’s position as an important east coast port and business destination, and will position the town as an attractive place for businesses to invest, especially in offshore engineering and the growing renewables sector.
As a county and as a region, we are pretty good at knuckling down and getting things done; we are less good to telling the rest of the world about what we are achieving. I sense the Great Yarmouth third river crossing is passing somewhat under the radar; we all need to be shouting about what it means for businesses looking to invest.
We are rightly quick to complain when our region is left out of central government strategic planning (and funding). But we need to be equally vocal about the good news. We don’t want the rest of the country, and investors from further afield, thinking that the East is a Cinderella region which is not worth investing in – because it’s simply not true.
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