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How commuters coped with Reading Bridge closure

They feared a day of commuter chaos but as work began on Reading Bridge this morning - it seemed drivers had heeded the warnings to leave earlier and find an alternative route. The crossing is closed for a fortnight and as predicted diversions were under pressure. So can the routes and the drivers sustain it for another fortnight? Mel Bloor reports


New Northern Road Bridge officially opened in Portsmouth

Transport links into Portsmouth have been boosted thanks to a new £12.6 million Northern Road Bridge which was officially opened by Transport Minister Baroness Kramer today.

The bridge on the A397 will help slash congestion into and out of the city and ensure the route can be freely used by buses.

It replaces the previous structure built in 1927, which had been restricted to one lane of traffic for safety reasons.

On her visit to the city the minister also officially opened the Tipner Park & Ride Interchange.

The new facility plays a vital role in kick starting regeneration as well reducing congestion, with 6 buses running between the park and ride and city centre every hour.

The total cost of the new bridge is £12.62 million with a Department for Transport contribution of £11.09 million.

I would like to congratulate everyone involved in the successful construction of the new Northern Bridge, which will boost access to Portsmouth as well as to the local shops, the hospital and police station at Cosham. We know the importance of strong transport links to local communities and businesses. That is why we have provided £11 million for this important scheme.”

– Transport Minister Baroness Kramer


Meeting to discuss third Thames bridge

A meeting is being held later about a third bridge over the River Thames. The MP for Reading East Rob Wilson, says for too long there's been "too great a reliance put on Sonning's one lane bridge" - which has been closed recently due to flooding and repairs.

The closure of Sonning Bridge has re-ignited calls for a 3rd bridge over the Thames Credit: ITV Meridian

Rob said "For decades there have been calls for a third river crossing but to date no agreement has been reached. I hope that by bringing together representatives from all three authorities we will start the process of actually listening to what local people on both sides of the border want.

The massive congestion and delays suffered by motorists and residents as a result of Sonning Bridge's recent closure has not been limited to my constituents in Caversham, Reading and Woodley, but also to John Howell MP's constituents in the Henley and Sonning Eye area.**

The meeting will be in the sports hall at Highdown School & Sixth Form Centre which is on Surley Row, Emmer Green, RG4 8LR

Portsmouth bridge gets go-ahead

Major improvements to tackle a traffic bottleneck on Portsmouth’s Northern Road Bridge will go ahead with £11 million of Government funding confirmed today.

The scheme will see work on a replacement bridge over the Portsmouth to London railway line at Cosham.

The original bridge was built to carry a dual carriageway but is now too weak and traffic has been restricted to a single lane in each direction.

The new bridge will allow the dual carriageway to be reinstated as well as removing any weight limit, bringing the bridge up to national standards.

This is an important scheme that will restore the full capacity of this route, help boost the local economy by reducing congestion and ensure journey time reliability for bus passengers.

“The £11 million we are putting into this scheme shows that the Coalition Government is serious about investing in the infrastructure the country needs to drive economic growth."

– Local Transport Minister Norman Baker
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