Tuesday 1 Sep 2009


Region & Route:
Southern: Wessex
| Southern

Network Rail is due to carry out essential works to replace the 140 year-old bridge over the railway on Ashley Road, Boscombe. The current bridge is fast approaching the end of its life and needs to be renewed to allow vehicles to continue to cross and trains to pass beneath it safely.

From 19 October, Ashley Road will be closed off to vehicles at (insert details of where). The bridge replacement will take up to nine weeks, with the road expected to re-open by 19 December.

Pedestrians will be able to cross the railway via the adjacent footbridge for the majority of the project’s duration.

Richard O’Brien, Network Rail’s route director for Wessex, said: “Replacing this bridge is a complex project. The opportunities to bring everything required together at the same time, including the availability of necessary equipment, engineers and third-party organisations, such as the utility companies, are very few and far between. If these works are not carried out now the next opportunity to do the work will be April 2011.

“We have done everything we can to minimise disruption and thank the people of Boscombe in advance for their patience. We have to act now to address this issue. We are in the process of arranging a public meeting to discuss the project in more detail with the community.”

Councillor Robert Lawton, cabinet member for environment & transport, said: “We would like to reassure local businesses and residents that we insisted Network Rail provide us with alternative options for carrying out the work when it would have less impact for the local trade at their busiest time of year. However public safety simply can not be compromised. Network Rail’s structural report states that it is impossible to predict the ongoing rate of deterioration of the bridge, therefore on that basis alone we cannot take the risk of waiting another 18 months before this old bridge is replaced.

“Public safety is the driving factor behind the council’s decision to allow Network Rail to go ahead with these works. That said we know there are many traders who are concerned about the impact these works will have on their businesses which is why we are looking at implementing a number of diversionary routes and positive schemes to encourage visitors in to Boscombe during the works."

Following Bournemouth borough council’s cabinet approval on 9 September the council will be opening up King’s Park to divert buses to and from Boscombe as an alternative to Ashley Road. The council will also introduce a free park and ride scheme which will mean shoppers, residents and workers can park for free at King’s Park and pay 10p to hop on the bus into Boscombe.

Councillor Lawton, added; “We hope to work closely with the Boscombe traders association to monitor the effects of Network Rail’s works and ensure that any impact is mitigated where possible.”

Notes to editors


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