READING’S most notorious traffic bottleneck has been removed following an upgrade to two railway bridges.
The upgrade to the bridges on Cow Lane means that from 10am on Monday 25 February, the busy road has two-way traffic without traffic lights for the first time ever. The joint project by Network Rail and Reading Borough Council also means higher vehicles, such as buses and lorries, can use the road for the first time. This will create a safer and more pleasant local environment for residents and businesses along the Oxford Road.
Following the opening of the road at Cow Lane, work will now continue to create a new dedicated pedestrian and cycle route. During this time, traffic will use the new road whilst pedestrians and cyclists will be able to use the ‘old’ bridge to pass through safely. Cyclists will be encouraged to dismount due to limited space available while the works are also ongoing, or alternatively can use the new carriageway. The pedestrian and cycle route is expected to be complete by the summer, before this year’s Reading Festival.
Jamie Davies, head of programme integration at Network Rail, said:
“We are really pleased that together with Reading Borough Council we have been able to deliver this important project that will make a real difference to the people of Reading.
“Unblocking this traffic bottleneck will further improve connectivity around Reading station. We thank everyone for their patience whilst we delivered this upgrade.”
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“The removal of Reading’s most notorious bottleneck marks a major landmark for the town. For the first time ever two-way traffic will be able to pass through Cow Lane without the need for traffic lights. The removal of the height restriction is just as significant, as it opens the route up for lorries and, potentially, for double decker buses.
“For the many thousands of vehicle trips that are just passing through west Reading, Cow Lane will now become an important new route. It will mean this traffic can be diverted away from the Oxford Road, creating a safer and more welcoming environment for residents and businesses in the area.
“It is also important to note that work will continue after February 25 to create the new pedestrian and cycle route under the bridges, which will be a key feature of the final completed scheme.”