Tuesday 31 Jan 2017
Residents and motorists benefit from new road bridge in Newbury as electrification moves closer
Residents and motorists in Newbury will benefit from a new road bridge at Boundary Road which opened today after 12 months of construction, restoring an important route through the town.
The new bridge stands higher than its predecessor to allow infrastructure which will power electric trains to run underneath. Bigger, faster and greener electric trains are set to run through Newbury by the end of 2018 as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
The bridge has been widened in order to make it a two-lane bridge, but it has re-opened as a single-lane crossing with temporary traffic lights until work commences on the adjacent Sterling Cables housing development.
Network Rail worked with West Berkshire Council to agree a suitable diversion route throughout the temporary closure of the bridge.
The old bridge was removed in June 2016 and a new one was installed over two weekends in September, whilst the last five months have seen the diversion of utilities from the footbridge to the new bridge.
In July, pupils from St Nicolas’ Primary School in Newbury submitted artwork to brighten up the temporary footbridge, which has now gone. The artwork proved to be such a hit that it will be moved and displayed at Newbury and Newbury Racecourse stations.
The bridge was opened on Tuesday, 31 January by Robbie Burns, Network Rail’s regional director of infrastructure projects, and Richard Benyon, MP for Newbury.
Robbie Burns, Network Rail’s regional director of infrastructure projects, said: “The construction of this new bridge at Boundary Road, as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, is another important step towards the new fleet of bigger, faster and greener electric trains coming to Newbury.
“We would like to thank residents and motorists for their patience as we completed this essential work.
Jeanette Clifford, West Berkshire Council’s executive member for highways and transport, said: “It’s great to see the new Boundary Road Bridge opened – and it’s a welcome reminder that the benefits of electrification are coming ever closer.
“We’re particularly pleased that because of the council’s relatively small contribution of £250,000 towards the project, the new bridge has two lanes, unlike the old narrow bridge it replaced which only had one. Congratulations are due to Network Rail for completing this very complex project on a difficult site, but even more importantly, our sincere thanks are due to local residents who have shown enormous forbearance over many months.”
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.