• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Botley Road closure – utility companies will work for at least 14 weeks

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 9, 2022

Different utility companies will be working in Botley Road for at least 14 weeks, disrupting Christmas shopping traffic.

Network Rail has outlined plans to shut the busy route close to the rail bridge, so that utility pipes and wires beneath the road can be diverted, in advance of next summer's project to rebuild the rail bridge, which will also result in temporary closure.

The work is part of a major upgrade for Oxford station and its services.

Read again: 14-week closure of Botley Road will hit Christmas shopping

A spokesman said utilities which need diverting include 'water, electricity, gas and communications'.

Oxford Mail: Oxford Mail Oxford Mail

The county council and Network Rail are still liaising over the precise timetable for work, but the closure could start from November 12.

City and county councillor Susanna Pressel has said the proposed closure, between Roger Dudman Way and Frideswide Square, was 'regrettable'.

In the past, temporary traffic lights have been used instead of closing the road.

Ms Pressel added: "A lot of discussions are still taking place on these roadworks, and no decision has been made yet.

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"However, time is now short before the date of the “blockade” next summer, when all trains will stop running and the bridge over Botley Road will be greatly improved – at last.

"The reason time is short is because the government delayed for months announcing that we have the money for the new western entrance. The work by the utilities companies is now urgent.

Oxford Mail: Photo: Oxford Mail Photo: Oxford Mail

They may even get permission to do it over Christmas. This would be regrettable and be a departure from the county council’s policy of an embargo on road works in the run up to Christmas.

"Apparently it may not even be possible to allow single lane traffic with temporary traffic lights for some or all the time, though emergency access will always be guaranteed."

She added: "Network Rail has promised that pedestrians will always be able to get through, including people in wheelchairs or with buggies, and cyclists will be able to wheel their bikes through the pedestrian tunnel or through the station.

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"I hope the bus companies will be able to get their buses as far as the station on both sides, so that passengers can walk from one bus to the next, through the pedestrian tunnel or through the station."

Oxford Mail: Photo: Oxford Mail Photo: Oxford Mail

A spokesman for the county council said earlier the timetable for work had not yet been finalised.

Utilities work has held up drivers for years on Botley Road – especially close to the Ferry Hinksey Road junction, and the stretch of road between the junction and the rail bridge.

There were temporary traffic lights for weeks last summer after an Environment Agency boat hit a Thames Water pipe at Osney Bridge.

Work was not completed until the end of August and resulted in complaints from drivers.

While residents have been told the utilities schedule is 14 weeks, the work could take even longer.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF