Network Rail has informed Oxfordshire County Council that it will no longer be able to meet its 09 January 2023 start date for the redevelopment of Oxford Station, and, consequently, the start date of Botley Road closure has been delayed.
Earlier discussions with the county council led to the conclusion that there should be a 12-month closure of Botley Road to traffic for the duration of the work, which will include replacing the rail bridge over Botley Road. However, Network Rail has now said it is not in a position to meet this start date.
In a statement, Network Rail said: “Replacing the bridge over Botley Road to facilitate a new platform, western entrance, and road improvements is an incredibly complex project, which needs to be completed by the end of 2024 on time for the start of East West Rail services.
“We are working with partners to refine our plans for the delivery of the works to enhance the station and do not now need to start the full closure of Botley Road in January. Part of this review is looking at how to reduce the impact of our work on the local community. Further details will be confirmed in the coming weeks.”
It is understood that the delay has been caused by the scale and nature of the work. This includes diverting vital utility services such as water, gas and electricity. The impact on Botley Road will be significant, and the council, Network Rail and others are discussing a new way forward.
Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “Although we were disappointed to learn about the need to delay the start of works for Oxford Station, as the highways authority, Oxfordshire County Council will continue to work with Network Rail and discharge our duty to manage the highways network effectively.
“Once any new arrangements have been confirmed, we will work with Network Rail and other partners to make sure the details are communicated clearly and accurately to everyone who might be affected.”
The county council will assess the impact the change from 09 January will have on the timing of its own schemes in and around Oxford, including the six trial traffic filters.
Further announcements will be made once discussions with Network Rail have developed further in the coming weeks.