THE temporary one-way traffic flow under Cow Lane bridge will return to two-way in July as part of a revised programme of improvement works by Network Rail. Traffic under the bridge will then remain under traffic light control until the full works are completed.
Network Rail’s contractors will soon move to the junction of Cow Lane and Cardiff Road to complete the junction realignment work from May 21st, which will incorporate the school half-term holidays when traffic levels are lower.
When this phase of work is complete – expected to be early in July – it means two-way traffic flows can be re-introduced underneath the northern bridge for the duration of the Cow Lane improvement scheme. This will be managed by the traffic signals that were in place prior to the introduction of the temporary one-way restriction in December last year. A pedestrian route under the bridge will also be provided.
Network Rail’s contractors have encountered significant issues with unforeseen ground conditions, drainage issues and unchartered buried services on the site since work began last year. This means the full opening of the new Cow Lane scheme has had to be delayed by up to six months, while the new road alignment works are completed.
Steve Coe, Senior Programme Manager, Network Rail, said:
“Unfortunately, the project has had to overcome a number of significant issues which have materialised through the course of this major improvement work. Significant delays have been incurred due to unforeseen ground conditions, drainage issues and unchartered buried services that have required investigation, design change and additional temporary works to enable construction to proceed safely. We are working with our contractor to minimise the impact and would like to thank people for their patience whilst the works are ongoing.”
As part of the phase of works to realign the new carriageway section on Cow Lane at the junction with Cardiff Road, contractors will need to close Cardiff Road at the junction from May 21st for up to 6 weeks, in addition to the continuing northbound one-way restriction underneath the northern rail bridge on Cow Lane. Network Rail has been warning affected businesses and will be implementing temporary alterations to maintain access during this period.
Two way traffic will begin under Cow Lane when this phase of works is complete. The precise date will be publicised nearer the time.
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“I know that the current one-way working has caused enormous frustrations and, hopefully, this announcement will be warmly welcomed. Traffic flow will revert to two-way under Cow Lane bridge from July onwards (with the precise date to be confirmed). This brings to an end the one-way arrangements which have been in place since December, and the associated diversions that have been in place for road users travelling southbound. Traffic lights will then remain in place for the duration of the works in 2018.
“As with any project of this size, there is always a risk of delays due to a number of unknown factors and it is unfortunate Network Rail has encountered a number of issues which have delayed the project, which will now be complete by early next year.
“In the long run Network Rail’s improvements works will bring major benefits to Reading’s road network. Cow Lane will become 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, offering potential for new bus services and 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.”