We have received changes to the dates for the closure of the Newbury Road Railway Bridge.

The closure of the bridge was to allow for works to accommodate larger freight containers on the railway, but it has been put back several months due to protected wildlife being present. The meeting in the Gill Nethercott Centre on July 11th had heard that a Dormouse habitat had been discovered and it has been confirmed that further problems have arisen regarding this protected species.
The closures, planned for this autumn will not now happen until early 2012.

Network Rail have today (Wednesday) issued the following release:

Network Rail has rescheduled the road closure which is needed to re-build the bridge which carries Newbury Road over the railway in Whitchurch. Originally scheduled to start in August 2011, the timescale has been changed after protected species of wildlife were found on the site and additional work is required to obtain a protected species licence.

Some works on the site will still begin in October 2011 with vegetation clearance and diversion of utilities, including water,and telephone. However the most likely date for the closure of the road will now be in January 2012. This will be followed by demolition of the existing bridge in February 2012 and reopening of the road in March. A letter drop to the residents around the site and further advice to Councillors will give firmer dates nearer to the time of the works.

In the meantime if you have any queries please contact the Network Rail helpline on 0845 711 4141.

Concerns on weather…
Some local residents have noted that this will lead to drivers using some of the narrowest roads in the area during the months with the worst weather.

Roadworks presently underway…
Meanwhile work by BT on the road to the north of the bridge commenced this week with a section being controlled by traffic lights, causing some minor delays to traffic.

This morning at the bridge:

The scene today at Newbury Road Railway Bridge

Should anyone have any comments on this article please send them to contact@whitchurch.org.uk.

Comment from Keith Watts on 4 Aug 2011:

… but it is wrong to use ‘mice’ in the headline about dormice. Mice are rodents of the family Muridae (as are rats) but dormice are the family Gliridae.

Empirical observation: Dormice have furry tails but mice don’t.

Comment from Editor on 6 Aug 2011:

Thanks for the comment, Keith -the title has been fixed – Dormice is an Anglicised version of “dormeus” and not a special kind of mouse. Good to learn something new every day!