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Major steel structures arrive to Gull Wing bridge


The second and third major steel sections of the Gull Wing bridge in Lowestoft have arrived.

The North Approach Viaduct (NAV2 and NAV3) sections arrived at the construction site on Lake Lothing on 29th March 2023 following an 8-hour crossing on a barge from Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Farrans is constructing the bridge for Suffolk County Council.

Fabricated by Victor Buyck Steel Construction, NAV2 is approximately 42m long and NAV3 is 50m long. On delivery the steel on NAV 2 weighed 221 tonnes and NAV 3 weighed 182 tonnes.

The complex process of navigating the barge into the inner harbour and then transferring the steel structure from the barge on to the site was overseen by a team of experienced civil engineers, port masters and marine experts.

In the coming days the sections will be lifted from the barge and positioned on to the pier so that they can be joined together. This will be done by bolting the splices before lining and levelling the sections into the correct position. Following this, the concrete decks will be cast before the street furniture and surfacing are placed.

As with the arrival of NAV1 in March 2022, the barge’s arrival was dependent on weather conditions remaining favourable and it needed to arrive during a slack tide to travel into the inner harbour.

Neil Rogers, project director on Gull Wing bridge for Farrans, said: “The arrival of NAV 2 and 3 marks another major milestone in the progress of this important infrastructure project for Suffolk County Council. Moving large steel structures such as these take months of planning, and we are pleased that they have arrived safely to their permanent home.

“This week we have also had the arrival of the crane that we will use to lift these sections of the bridge. The crane for NAV2 and 3 is a Liebherr LR1600. This is a 600 tonne capacity crane that is a little over twice the capacity of the crane currently working on the control tower (250t). It uses a super-lift system which means that it has a much greater lifting capacity at the same radius.”

The crane was delivered on 18 articulated lorries and took three days to assemble.

Simon Bretherton, Suffolk County Council Project Director for Lake Lothing Third Crossing, said: “This is another major step forward for the Gull Wing project and we continue to make good progress with construction.

“The arrival and installation of these two sections over the coming weeks are further signs of the bridge taking shape and which, once complete, will deliver a structure that will not only be iconic but also a positive and long-lasting legacy for jobs, businesses and connectivity for the town of Lowestoft and the wider area.”