THE wait is almost over...
Boundary Road – one of Newbury’s busiest through routes – will reopen on Tuesday next week, following 12 months of disruption.
However, the bad news is the bridge will still only be one-way for now because the land north of the bridge is not yet wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic.
The necessary widening works will be completed at a later date as part of the adjacent Sterling Cables redevelopment and paid for by the developer and the council.
Work on Boundary Road started in January 2016 to allow Network Rail to carry out essential works to heighten the bridge ahead of electrification of the line.
Network Rail has admitted the £2.5m project is one of the most complex of all its bridge replacements, due to the age of the structure and the number of utilities connected to it.
Boundary Road was previously closed for three months – from July 2015 until October 2015 – while utility services were diverted away from the bridge ahead of the main works taking place.
That closure caused gridlock, with some disgruntled people getting in touch with the Newbury Weekly News to say it was taking them up to 40 minutes to travel across town.
The works have not only had an impact on motorists using the town’s road network, but they have also generated complaints from nearby residents.
Several of them contacted the NWN last year to say that noisy overnight works had kept them awake and made the walls of their homes shake.
Throughout the closure, a temporary footbridge has been in place for pedestrians and cyclists to use.
Last year, Network Rail gave Newbury schoolchildren the chance to design artwork to brighten up the footbridge.
When the new bridge is put into operation, the pupils’ artwork will be moved and put on display at Newbury and Newbury Racecourse stations.
This week, a spokesman for Network Rail, James Crook, said: “We would like to thank residents for their patience.
“This essential upgrade will pave the way for faster, greener electric trains with more seats to be operating through Newbury.”