Suffolk County Council set to commit £20m towards Wet Dock Crossing in Ipswich and the Lake Lothing bridge in Lowestoft

Colin Noble,Ben Gummer MP,Cllr David Ellesmere at the Wet Dock.

Colin Noble,Ben Gummer MP,Cllr David Ellesmere at the Wet Dock. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Suffolk is set to commit £20m to the first phase of building two vital new bridges in the county’s two largest towns.

The county council’s cabinet to be asked to approve the spending to be divided between a new Wet Dock Crossing in Ipswich and a new third crossing of Lake Lothing in Lowestoft.

The money will be set aside from the budget to allow preparatory work to be carried out on the schemes, most of which will be funded by central government.

The money will be broadly spread across three years – and is just a fraction of the finance that needs to be raised locally for the project.

The Government has committed in principle to funding £77.5m towards the Ipswich Wet Dock crossing which has an estimated total cost of £96.6m. It will also pay £73.4m towards the crossing in Lowestoft, which has a total estimated cost of around £91.7m.

That means £37.4m has to be found locally. £10m of the funding from the county council will be used to start making planning applications, consultations, economic modelling and environmental assessments for both projects.

County council leader Colin Noble said: “These two crossing development schemes will unlock so much potential in the communities in and around Lowestoft and Ipswich; benefitting the wider East Anglia region, not just Suffolk.”

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Ipswich MP Ben Gummer has been leading the calls for a new crossing near the entrance to the Wet Dock. He welcomed the development, saying: “I think this shows that sense of urgency to get on with the projects just weeks after the funding was confirmed in the budget.

“The government has given a clear signal that it wants the work to get under way and now the county council is stepping up to the plate to speed things along.”

The business community is also behind the projects. Suffolk Chamber chief executive John Dugmore said: “Through our active involvement in both Ipswich Vision and Lowestoft Vision, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has strongly backed the overwhelming case for both crossings.

“These investment proposals by Suffolk County Council show that these are exciting and positive times which offer real economic benefits to local businesses”.