Network Rail has announced that Botley Road in Oxford is to close, as part of the major project taking place to upgrade Oxford Station and railway.
The project comes as part of the Oxfordshire Connect programme and will cost £161 million as Network Rail works to build a bigger and better station for Oxford whilst also expanding the railway capacity to allow more rail services to pass through. This will help to reduce journey times for passenger and freight journeys. As part of the works, the network of roads around the station will be improved to create safer junctions, enhance bus travel and improve provision for cyclists and pedestrians to encourage further sustainable transport.
This work will mean the current bridge at Botley Road is replaced, to allow for the additional of an extra railway line, however this will require eleven different utility providers to divert their infrastructure as well as Network Rail undertaking their preliminary work.
From the 11th April, work will run until the end of October. This means that:
- Motorists that use Botley Road to get into the city must take an alternative route, use one of the city’s park and ride sites, or get the train from a local station that has parking.
- Buses will use existing stops on Osney Island, but will turn around before the rail bridge.
- Throughout the course of the work, pedestrians and cyclists will have access into the city.
- Despite some diversions being in place, local residents will retain access to their homes at all homes.
- Unless stated otherwise, the station will remain open throughout the works period.
Claire Mahoney, Network Rail programme director for Oxfordshire Connect, said:
“Undertaking this work to enable the replacement of the bridge at Botley Road near the station in Oxford is a critical part of the works required to improv the station for the city, increase rail traffic in Oxfordshire and improve the highway for buses into the city.
“There was never going to be an easy way to do this work, it’s extremely complex and needs to be carefully coordinated with multiple utility companies as well as Thames Water and the Environment Agency who are undertaking other works close by, We’ve split the work into two parts this year and next year, so that we reduce the impact on the city’s residents.
“We’re working closely with the City and County Councils, and transport providers so it’s easier to work and move around during the closure, but we know this is going to inevitably cause disruption. We urge residents and businesses to understand the impact on them and plan ahead whilst the works are in place.”
The closed section of Botley Road will reopen again in the autumn, however it will close again in Spring 2024 to allow for the demolition and improvement of the bridge, with highway improvement also taking place.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, Councillor Andrew Gant, added:
“It is great to hear we have confirmed dates from Network Rail for work to start to redevelop Oxford Station. It will improve capacity for passengers and freight and is vital for the development of projects such as East West Rail and other improvements.
“As with any project of this scale, it will inevitably mean disruption – in this case the closure of Botley Road for two significant periods. While this cannot be avoided, we will do all we can to minimise the impact on the rest of the road network. We will work closely with Network Rail and our other partners, such as the bus companies, to keep the city moving during this period.”
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said:
“This work is critical to our plans for creating a sustainable transport network across Oxford and Oxfordshire and for improving the national rail network. However, I do not underestimate the immediate impact this will have on residents and businesses in and around the city.
“We will continue to engage with the County Council on their plans to mitigate the impact of the closure. While I understand some pre-emptive traffic management measures will be put in place, regular monitoring across the network will be essential to enable them to make additional rapid responses to address issues caused by the closure.”