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Unforeseen ground conditions blamed for Reading bridge delay

Network Rail has said that Bam Nuttall working with Bechtel encountered significant issues with unforeseen ground conditions, drainage issues and unchartered buried services on replacement of a bridge in Reading leading to six months delay on the scheme.

The issues on the replacement of Cow Lane Bridge below the Reading to Bristol rail line, which is part of the Reading Station upgrade that has been underway since 2011, has meant one-way traffic restrictions and delayed full opening to two-way traffic.

Reading Borough Council has said that two-way traffic with traffic lights will be put in place in July but the traffic control will remain until the scheme is completed early next year. The one-way traffic route has been in place since December last year and further road closures are planned before the July reopening date.

old cow lane bridge

old cow lane bridge

The work replaces an old single barrel brick arch bridge that used traffic lights to allow two-way traffic

Network Rail senior programme manager Steve Coe said: “Unfortunately, the project has had to overcome a number of significant issues which have materialised through the course of this major improvement work.

“Significant delays have been incurred due to unforeseen ground conditions, drainage issues and unchartered buried services that have required investigation, design change and additional temporary works to enable construction to proceed safely.

“We are working with our contractor to minimise the impact and would like to thank people for their patience while the works are ongoing.”

As part of the phase of works to realign the new carriageway section on Cow Lane at the junction with Cardiff Road, contractors will need to close Cardiff Road at the junction from 21 May for up to six weeks, in addition to the continuing northbound one-way restriction underneath the northern rail bridge on Cow Lane.

Reading Borough Council lead member for strategic environment, planning and transport Tony Page said: “I know that the current one-way working has caused enormous frustrations and, hopefully, this announcement will be warmly welcomed. Traffic flow will revert to two-way under Cow Lane bridge from July onwards, although the precise date to be confirmed. This brings to an end the one-way arrangements which have been in place since December, and the associated diversions that have been in place for road users travelling southbound. Traffic lights will then remain in place for the duration of the works in 2018.

“As with any project of this size, there is always a risk of delays due to a number of unknown factors and it is unfortunate Network Rail has encountered a number of issues which have delayed the project, which will now be complete by early next year.”

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