Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Botley Road: Reopening date delayed due to pipeline complications

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By Emily FordBBC News

Network Rail A cordoned-off section of the Botley Road ongoing works shows diggers and vans crowded around sections of road which have been dug up and are being supported by metal beams. In the background buses can be seen at bus stops and passengers can be seen walking along the cordon for the roadworksNetwork Rail

The Botley Road in Oxford has been closed to vehicles since April 2023 – a new date for reopening has not yet been announced

A major road into a city centre, which has been closed for more than a year, will not reopen as planned.

Botley Road in Oxford has been closed under the rail bridge since April 2023, for a £161m road and rail improvement project.

Network Rail has now confirmed the road will not reopen in October due to “highly complex” pipework. It is yet to confirm a new date.

Oxfordshire County Council agreed plans for the development in April.

In a statement, the rail firm said “significant progress” had been made, including the construction of a new platform on the western side of Oxford Station.

Layla Moran smiles at the camera, she has short curly black hair and wears large silver metal framed glasses with a blue and white print blouse and yellow trenchcoat over the top

MP Layla Moran said she had written to the rail minister about Network Rail’s announcement

However, Anna Holbrook, from Network Rail, said the bridge replacement works had to be postponed.

She explained: “The work to divert the complex layout of utility pipes and cables under the road, including the sewer system, will not be ready in time.

“We know how important Botley Road is to Oxford and apologise to local residents and businesses for the ongoing inconvenience.

“We are working out the best way forward and will continue to engage with the local community as our plans develop.”

Ms Holbrook said they were working with contractor, Kier, to complete the project.

Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, said the delays were “unacceptable”.

She added: “Network Rail have demonstrated utterly shambolic project management from start to finish and I am furious at this latest development.”

Ms Moran said she had written to rail minister and former chair of Network Rail, Lord Peter Hendy.

“Network Rail have asked a whole community to live with enormous levels of disruption,” she continued.

“I am unconvinced they have done everything possible to support residents through this period.”

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