Drivers facing months of chaos

Thousands of drivers in the Thames Valley are facing eight months of chaos as major work to replace a railway bridge gets underway next month. The work is needed to improve safety and allow for a major railway improvement project.

Eight months of chaos ahead for Thames Valley drivers

by Mike Pearse

Thousands of drivers in the Thames Valley are facing eight months of chaos as major work to replace a railway bridge gets underway next month.

The work is needed to improve safety and allow for a major railway improvement project. The brickwork on the A339 Newbury bridge will be completely replaced.

The bridge is the main route through Newbury and drivers have been told by the Highways Agency (HA) to expect closures and narrow lanes.

Main construction will begin on Monday 4 March, when narrow lanes will be introduced. At times lanes and even the entire road will be closed.

The HA say upgraded parapets will offer better protection for drivers and rail users, and will also help to clear the way for the future electrification of the railway line beneath the bridge.

This is going to be a complex project, on a busy road with a mainline railway underneath, but we are planning the work very carefully and will make sure that any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.

“We have been working closely with West Berkshire County Council, who operate the A339 and have helped us to understand how people rely on the A339, what it is used for and its importance to people living, working and shopping in Newbury. We expect that we will be able to keep two lanes of traffic open in both directions on the A339 at all peak times.

Concrete on the bridge will be repaired, the bridge parapet will be replaced with a higher barrier, improving safety for drivers and rail users, and the brickwork on the walls of the bridge supports will be replaced. The new brickwork will be safer and easier to maintain, and will retain the bridge’s current appearance and character."

– Highways Agency structures manager Steve Cobb