Off Peak Lane Closures on A33 Begin Next Week

Off peak lane closures will be in operation on the A33 from Tuesday 30th May as work to speed up journeys along the busy route progresses.

Starting next week and between the hours of 9.30am and 3.30pm, off peak lane closures will be in operation on the northbound A33, between Longwater Avenue and Island Road. The restrictions apply Monday to Friday. All lanes will be fully open for both the morning and evening peak periods. It is anticipated that southbound off peak lane closures will commence from mid-June.

Road users are being asked to be aware of the restrictions and allow some extra time for their journeys if travelling during off peak hours.

Reading Borough Council is building a dedicated new bus lane – known as the South Reading MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) – on the southbound carriageway A33, speeding up journey times for all road users on one of Reading’s key commuters routes between the Town Centre and Junction 11 of the M4 and Green Park. No road capacity for other vehicles is being lost in order to create the new bus lane, with extra space created by using land alongside the existing highway and from the central reservation.

The first section of the South Reading MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) project, between the Imperial Way (Tesco) roundabout and M4 Junction 11, was completed in December 2016. Phase 2 runs between Kennet Island and Imperial Way and began in April.

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“While the off peak lane closures are unavoidable as this project progresses, working with contractors we have delayed them as much as possible to minimise inconvenience for road users.

“All lanes will be fully open during the morning and evening peak periods but we would urge all road users travelling outside of those hours to plan for some delays and build in extra time for their journeys.”

As well an off peak weekday restrictions, some weekend working with temporary lane closures is also expected. Weekend working will not be scheduled on days Reading FC are playing at home and works will be suspended during the Reading Festival.

Contractors are planning to carry out the work in sections and bring new areas of bus lane into service when they are available, rather than open the whole completed stretch at the end. Information messages for drivers will be displayed on VMS signs around the town. The works for the 36-week programme phase of the scheme are due to be completed by the end of November.

The South Reading MRT scheme is being paid for through Reading Borough Council’s successful funding bid as part of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Local Growth Deal. The Council’s long-term ambition is for a bus lane to run along the full length of the A33, but work will be carried out in phases, as and when future funding can be secured.

Oscar Mortali

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