Tuesday 22 Aug 2017
Cow Lane improvement works set to get under way after Reading Festival
Works to improve traffic flow and safety for cyclists and pedestrians in Reading will begin after this year’s Reading Festival, as Network Rail prepares to widen the existing single lane carriageway and alleviate the bottleneck between the bridges on Cow Lane.
The planned improvements at Cow Lane bridges will remove the current height restriction and the long-standing traffic bottleneck in west Reading by creating a wider road big enough to allow two vehicles to safely pass, as well as allowing the future use of double-deck buses for the first time ever.
When complete, the widening and lowering of the road will create an important alternative route for HGVs, commercial and other traffic passing through west Reading. This will result in a better and safer local environment for residents and businesses along the Oxford Road.
It will also mean traffic lights will no longer be needed through the bridges and there will be substantial benefits for pedestrians and cyclists, with new shared use footway/cycleways introduced through the bridge.
So as not to clash with this year’s Reading Festival, work is due to begin after the August bank holiday weekend. The project is due to be completed before the 2018 Reading Festival at the end of August next year.
The safe separation of road users and pedestrians will be provided throughout the work.
As the project progresses, Cow Lane will need to be closed for up to two weekends for demolition works on the old bridge structure. The dates of these closures are being publicised in advance ad road users and pedestrians are being asked to be aware of the dates, as they will have an impact.
These closures will take place:
- 3 November at 8pm to 6 November at 5am
- 10 November at 8pm to 13 November at 5am
- The second closure is planned in as contingency and may not be needed should the work be completed during the first closure.
A traffic management specialist will be appointed to oversee the closures and ensure that alternative routes for motorists are clearly identified and publicised as part of a traffic management plan nearer the time
Shyam Samani, project manager for Network Rail, said: “I’d like to thank residents and road users in advance for their patience as we undertake this vital work to improve safety and traffic flow in and out of Reading. This construction work can be noisy but residents should be assured that every effort will be made to minimise this throughout the work.
“We’ve worked closely with Reading Borough Council to agree on an appropriate design and timings in which to complete this work, and we will publish a traffic management plan for road users closer to the date of the closures to advice of safe alternative routes.”
Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “Residents across the town, in particular in west Reading and around the Oxford Road, will be all too familiar with the long-standing bottleneck at Cow Lane which for many years has created a pinch point at a key location. I am delighted the start of these improvements works is now imminent.
“When complete in August next year, this will be an important alternative route for lorries, commercial and other traffic which are just passing through west Reading, resulting in a safer and more pleasant local environment for residents and businesses along the Oxford Road. It will mean double decker buses will be able to cross Cow Lane for the first time ever, speeding up journey times for passengers. It will also mean traffic lights will no longer be needed through the bridges, with a new and safe route for both pedestrians and cyclists.
“As with any major project of this kind, there will be inconvenience whilst the works take place. By publishing the potential weekend closures well in advance we hope people can plan ahead to minimise the impact.”
Members of the public with any questions or concerns about this work can contact Network Rail’s national helpline, available 24/7 on: 03457 48 49 50.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.