Official opening celebrated in Great Yarmouth as BAM Farrans Joint Venture completes herring bridge

1 February 2024 - Norfolk County Council has marked the official opening of Herring Bridge in Great Yarmouth today, following the completion of one of the region’s most significant infrastructure projects.

The ‘twin leaf’ bascule bridge, which represented an overall investment of £121 million, was delivered by main contractors BAM Farrans Joint Venture.

Now open to river and road traffic, Herring Bridge is an important connection between the A47 Harfrey’s roundabout to the port and enterprise zone on the other side of the river.

It will ease traffic congestion on the town’s roads, shortening journey times, removing the need for HGV vehicles to access the port via the town and improving journey reliability, as well as supporting wider plans and work to maximise investment, regeneration and economic growth opportunities in the town and wider borough.

Official opening Herring bridge

The complex project involved in-river marine works and the construction of the approach embankments, which support two underpasses and the bascule bridge. Nearby, the local road network has been upgraded with a five-arm roundabout and dual carriageway. The scheme was delivered in a live and operational marine port, with commercial and residential properties along the approaches to the river crossing. An extensive stakeholder engagement campaign was managed throughout this project to ensure minimal disruption to local residents and businesses.

The bridge’s two leaves were manufactured in Belgium and shipped to Great Yarmouth by barge, as opposed to being manufactured in parts and welded together on site. This approach improved the finished quality, as it was completed in a controlled environment. It also increased the safety of the project team by removing risks associated with on-site construction. 

Alan Cox, Managing Director Regions & Transport at BAM, said: The opening event is an excellent milestone for the many organisations involved, and especially the local community. Delivered by BAM Farrans Joint Venture, with significant support from the local supply chain, the project has overcome numerous challenges to upgrade existing and deliver new infrastructure, which will enhance local employment and connectivity in Great Yarmouth. Part of our legacy to the town has been to inspire employment within the construction industry and engineers of the future. We’re extremely proud of the team that collaborated with Norfolk County Council to design and construct this eye-catching civil engineering scheme.’

Tony Mulholland, Project Director for BAM Farrans Joint Venture, said: ‘We’re proud to see Herring Bridge open and delivering for the people of Great Yarmouth following many years of positive collaboration between our team, Norfolk County Council and all stakeholders involved in the project. One of the features that made this project truly special was that a twin bascule bridge, of such size and scale, is not common in the UK. This bridge has been designed to ensure minimal disruption to highway traffic and river traffic, so it opens and closes within 90 seconds, twenty-plus times per day. We’ve placed social impact at the heart of this project by investing almost £20 million in local economic value, engaging with schools and colleges for site visits and workshops and creating local employment opportunities. We know that this will leave a positive legacy for many years to come.’

Cllr Graham Plant, cabinet member for Highways, Infrastructure and Transport said: ‘The Herring Bridge is a state-of-the-art infrastructure project aimed at enhancing connectivity, reducing traffic congestion and is a prime example of the economic development happening in Great Yarmouth. The bridge will be an important link between Great Yarmouth and Gorleston which will improve links through the area, transform travel across the town and provide a massive economic boost to our region.’