Traffic filters to be installed as soon as Botley Road reopens

Since April last year, the rail authority has been carrying out work as part of a £161m upgrade for Oxford rail station.

The work involves replacing the rail bridge and moving utility cables in Botley Road so that a new western entrance to the station can be built.

READ MORE: Emergency closure of busy street causes traffic chaos

Botley Road has been shut to traffic at the rail bridge since work began and is due to reopen in October.

But once it reopens county council bosses will activate six new traffic filters across the city on a six-month trial basis.

Oxford Mail: The pedestrian bridge leading to Oxford stationA traders’ spokesman urged the council not to install the filters until six months after the Botley Road reopened.

The filters, with ANPR cameras, aim to reduce traffic levels in Oxford by managing the use of certain roads by private car.

 

All other vehicles including emergency services, taxis, buses, coaches, all vans, mopeds, motorbikes and HGVs can pass through traffic filters at all times.

Electrical works have started near the filter points at Hollow Way, Hythe Bridge Street, St Cross Road, St Clements, Marston Ferry Road and Thames Street.

READ MORE: Renovations under way at railway centre 

A county council spokesman said: “The county council aims to start the traffic filters trial this autumn, when Botley Road reopens.

“Early preparatory work started this week near the filter points.”

Graham Jones, of traders’ group ROX (Backing Oxford Business), urged the council not to launch the traffic filters until six months after Botley Road was reopened at the rail bridge.

Oxford Mail: Network Rail work in Botley RoadHe said: “Botley Road reopening will be good news for traders in the Botley Road area, but we now face the prospect of living with six new traffic filters in the run-up to Christmas, which will be bad for business.

“We don’t want the traffic filters at all, but if they are to be introduced the council should delay their introduction by six months – Oxford needs as long a breathing space as possible to see if the city can recover.”

Mr Jones added that ROX and Oxford Business Action Group were collecting funds to mount a legal challenge to the filters in the hope of securing a public inquiry.

Network Rail engineers are on schedule to complete the scheme in October, and are now installing covers for pipes and cables under Botley Road.

On March 9 and 10 it will remove a footbridge in preparation for replacing the main railway bridge in July.

Oxford Mail: Buses at the turning circleThe new bridge will provide space for an additional railway line through the station, increasing capacity.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Our programme at Botley Road is on schedule, with all our preparation work progressing well for the replacement of the bridge this summer.

“We will be removing the footbridge overnight between March 9 and 10 and a replacement is due to open at the end of October, along with the road.

“We’d like to thank the community for their continued patience during our work, which paves the way for upgrades to Oxford station, the wider railway and road, cycle and pedestrian routes.”

The footbridge is currently open and will remain open until its removal on March 9 and 10.

Oxford Mail: The brick archThe replacement of the rail bridge is due to take place between July 27 and the early hours of August 1.

Network Rail has said the station improvement scheme has gone over budget after a inverted brick arch was found under Botley Road rail bridge, adding “significant additional challenges and complexities”. 

This delayed the scheme by several months and meant the short-term reopening of the road had to be abandoned.

Network Rail is working with the Department for Transport to manage the additional costs.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.

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