Network Rail reveals new timetable for closures of Oxford's Botley Road
Road to be closed to through traffic for several months in 2023 and 2024 for Oxford Station redevelopment
Oxford’s Botley Road will be closed to through traffic for seven months from Tuesday 11 April to allow Network Rail to begin work on its £161 million redevelopment of Oxford Station and rail upgrade.
Network Rail has issued an update about its plans to replace the rail bridge over Botley Road in Oxford, as part of its wider project to expand the station on the western side. It will involve full closures of Botley Road to through traffic for several months at a time in 2023 and 2024.
Network Rail has had detailed discussions with the government and Oxfordshire County Council and is now working to a new approved project timeline:
- 11 April 2023 to the end of October 2023: Botley Road closure for through traffic for utility diversion work.
- March 2024 - October 2024: Botley Road closed to through traffic for highway work.
Network Rail originally planned for a 12 month closure starting in January 2023, but this had to be amended due to the complexities involved.
Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “It is great to hear we have confirmed dates from Network Rail for work to start to redevelop Oxford Station. It will improve capacity for passengers and freight and is vital for the development of projects such as East West Rail and other improvements.
“As with any project of this scale, it will inevitably mean disruption – in this case the closure of Botley Road for two significant periods. While this cannot be avoided, we will do all we can to minimise the impact on the rest of the road network. We will work closely with Network Rail and our other partners, such as the bus companies, to keep the city moving during this period.”
The county council is assessing the impact this may have on the timing of its own schemes in and around Oxford. The traffic filters trial in Oxford, approved by the council’s cabinet, will now be delayed. It cannot start until after Botley Road has fully reopened to traffic in autumn 2024.
It is expected that the other main routes into Oxford will get busier. Limited roadworks on these roads will be allowed to help mitigate this. Further parking/loading restrictions may also need to be considered. Use of bus and park and ride services will be strongly promoted for those visiting Oxford.
Between 11 April and October 2023 while the first closure is in place:
- Motorists who usually use Botley Road to get into the city are advised to use the Seacourt Park and Ride or take an alternative route.
- Buses will turn around just before the rail bridge allowing passengers to continue their journey into the city centre on foot.
- Pedestrians and cyclists will have access throughout the work.
- Network Rail is working with emergency services on access arrangements.
- Residents’ access to their homes will remain at all times, with some diversions in place.
Work is continuing to take place to look at how to ease the pressure on the rest of the road network and further details will be released as soon as they are available.
Claire Mahoney, Programme Director for Oxfordshire Connect at Network Rail, said: “Replacing the bridge at Botley Road near the station in Oxford is a critical part of the works required to improve the station for the city, increase rail traffic in Oxfordshire and improve the highway for buses into the city. There was never going to be an easy way to do this work, it’s extremely complex and needs to be carefully coordinated with multiple utility companies.
“We’ve split the work into two parts this year and next year, so that we reduce the impact on the city’s residents. We’re working closely with the city and county councils, and transport providers, so it’s easier to work and move around during the closure, but we know this is going to inevitably cause disruption. We urge residents and businesses to understand the impact on them and plan ahead whilst the works are in place.”
It is hoped that work to repair a water main on Osney Bridge on Botley Road, involving Thames Water and the Environment Agency, can be arranged during this year’s closure to avoid further disruption for road users in the future.
Anyone wishing to get the latest information on the project can sign up to receive e-mail updates at lineside.networkrail.co.uk/oxfordshireconnect