Tuesday 7 Oct 2003


Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
Traffic lights, which have been a feature for years on a busy road-over-rail bridge in Devon, will be removed as part of Network Rail’s bridge replacement programme in the Great Western region, allowing vehicles to flow freely once again in each direction. Around half-a-million pounds will be spent by Network Rail on replacing a weak road bridge - Bow Bridge - on the A381, between Newton Abbot and Totnes, which crosses the railway line. Traffic lights have been used on the bridge since 1999 to help reduce the load using it at any one time. What makes the project ambitious is that the Network Rail team, with contractor Nuttalls, aims to close the line, strip the deck from the 128-year-old bridge, reinforce the buttresses, put in a new deck and parapets which are assembled on site, and make good the road surface, the drainage and safety barriers– all within four days. To enable the work to go ahead, the line will be closed from 04.30 on Saturday October 11 until 05.30 on Monday October 13. During this time, replacement road transport will be provided between Exeter St Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth. It is also essential to close the A381 and set up a diversion while the main work is taking place and also while preparatory and finishing off work are carried out before and after the line closure. Network Rail has liaised closely with Devon County Council, which has agreed the road may be closed between 19.00 on Friday October 10 and 14.00 on Tuesday October 14. “While we apologise to all those rail and road users who will be inconvenienced during the closure of the bridge and line which runs beneath it, we hope that everybody will appreciate the benefits in the long run,” said Anna Cornish, Scheme Project Manager for Network Rail. “The traffic lights on the bridge have caused a bottle neck for a number of years and their removal should help the traffic flow. We are also installing barrier fencing, which will help reduce the risk of vehicles leaving the carriageway and ending up on the track. “It is a major undertaking to replace a bridge and reinstate the carriageway in only four days.” While the Bow Bridge road is closed, two clearly signposted diversion routes will be in place:  A383 to A38 to A384 to A385 (via Buckfastleigh and Ashburton) and A381 to A380 to A385 (via Torbay).  Although the bridge replacement work will only take place over one weekend, the lines will be closed over subsequent weekends for other essential track renewal and maintenance work. Rail users can find more information about West of England services by contacting the National Rail Enquiries Service on 08457 48 49 50.

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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