Mon, 12 Dec 2016
A NEW bridge – which has been built to replace the notorious Ufton Nervet level crossing – will open on Friday.
Seven people died and more than 120 were injured when a train hit a car that had been deliberately parked on the crossing and derailed 12 years ago.
Since the tragedy, on November 6, 2004, a further four people have died at the crossing, taking the number of fatalities to 11.
On the eve of the 10-year anniversary of the fatal incident, Network Rail confirmed it had found the £8m it needed to build the bridge.
The plans were approved in August 2015 and work began in March this year.
The opening ceremony will take place on Friday, December 16, at 4pm.
Newbury resident Jane Hawker, who was on the 17.35 high-speed First Great Western Service from Paddington to Plymouth when tragedy struck, said it would provide closure.
However, the project has met with some hostility locally, with Ufton Nervet resident Peter Newell and former Mortimer district councillor Geoff Mayes both claiming that a full barrier crossing with CCTV cameras would be a more cost-effective and sensible option.
Network Rail insisted a bridge was the only suitable option.
The bridge will be no more than 29ft high, have earth banks on either side and be planted with trees and other flora.
According to Network Rail, about 150 trains, including stopping services, through trains and freight trains, pass through Ufton Nervet every day.