Network Rail reveals extended timetable for closure of Oxford's Botley Road

Road to remain closed to through traffic until October 2024 due to delays to Oxford Station redevelopment

Network Rail has informed Oxfordshire County Council that it will no longer be able to reopen Oxford’s Botley Road at the end of October 2023, as previously planned.

Due to complications experienced during its £161 million redevelopment of Oxford Station, Network Rail has requested that Botley Road remain closed to through traffic until the project is completed in October 2024.

The original plan was to reopen the road at the end of next month when utility diversion work was due to be completed, and then close it again to through traffic from March - October 2024 for highway work and the replacement of Botley railway bridge.

However, Network Rail has not been able to keep to this schedule due to problems caused by the discovery of an inverted brick arch under the surface, which stretches beneath the railway bridge.

Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “Obviously it is disappointing that Botley Road will remain closed for longer than expected but there was no alternative due to the difficulties faced by Network Rail in this complex project.

“We continue to thank residents, commuters and businesses who have been affected by this work for their patience and understanding. As the highway authority, we will continue to work with Network Rail and other partners and discharge our duty to manage the highways network effectively.”

Dale Crutcher, Network Rail’s Industry Programme Director for Greater Oxford, said: “This project is extremely complex and has been made even more challenging by the extent of the brick arch underneath the road. We’ve explored a number of options to deliver the works which included moving to working around the clock, but unfortunately with needing the infrastructure to be ready by the end of next year we have no choice but to keep the road closed until October 2024.

“I understand this will be disappointing for residents and businesses, and I’m sorry for the disruption this will cause.

“Engagement with stakeholders will continue with the next local community drop-in at West Oxford Community Centre on Wednesday 27 September between 2.30pm and 6pm, where members of the project team will be available to answer your questions.”

The multi-million-pound project to upgrade the station, the railway and the surrounding local road network will boost passengers’ travel experience while better connecting rail links to the east of Oxford.

Once complete, the station and railway upgrades – part of the Oxfordshire Connect programme – will provide travellers with a bigger and better Oxford station and an expanded railway which will enable more services for passengers and freight, with reduced journey times.  

The road network near the station will also be improved, with safer junctions with Botley Road and more opportunities for sustainable transport, including enhanced bus travel as well as more space for cyclists and pedestrians through the addition of a four-metre cycle and footway on each side of the main road.   

For information on the project visit networkrail.co.uk/oxfordshireconnect or for the latest highways information oxfordshire.gov.uk/oxfordstation

Anyone wishing to get the latest information on the project can sign up to receive e-mail updates at lineside.networkrail.co.uk/oxfordshireconnect