Road closure plan branded as ‘absolutely disgraceful’

Jenny Hannaby

Jenny Hannaby

First published in News
Last updated
Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

NETWORK Rail has warned three communities in the Vale of White Horse of further road closures as part of its electricification scheme.

But county and Wantage town councillor Jenny Hannaby yesterday said she would pressurise the company to put in a temporary bridge for its project in Challow, where it has said the A417 would be shut for four months.

It is going to rebuild the Challow Station Road bridge between September and December.

The firm also said work to build a new Station Road bridge for the A338 at the Volunteer pub in Grove will begin in November and be complete by the summer, but that road will only need to be closed for an unspecified “short time”.

It is also going to close Steventon High Street from January to August next year to rebuild it. It is rebuilding 29 bridges in Oxfordshire as part of its £1bn electrification of the Great Western Mainline from London to Cardiff.

Mrs Hannaby said: “It is an absolute disgrace. They should be treating Challow exactly as they have the A338.

“It is essential that Network Rail finds a way to keep the road open.

“This is the main route to Faringdon, it is a very busy road, so this is not acceptable.”

The A417 at Challow carries an average 6,500 journeys a day.

One of those is Tish Phillips, from Faringdon, who drives over Challow Road Bridge to get to work at NFU Mutual in East Challow.

She said: “I don’t understand why they can’t use a temporary bridge.

“I would have to go a very extensive route through Goosey and Denchworth, and everyone would have to use that route so it would get very busy.

“It would be during the bad weather, and there would still be a lot of farming vehicles on the roads at that time of year.”

She sarcastically quipped: “It’s going to be great fun.”

The company said the project to install overhead electric wires will allow it to run larger, faster, more efficient and environmentally-friendly trains.

Other rebuilding projects include Denchworth Road Bridge and Circourt Road Bridge north of Grove but there are no closure dates for those yet.

Last week NR caved in to months of local pressure when it announced it would not close the A338 Station Road Bridge for six months as previously planned.

Instead the company will build a new bridge off site then close the road for “a short period” while it installs the new bridge. However it is refusing to give that a timescale.

The announcement came after a meeting with Oxfordshire county councillors, including Mrs Hannaby. She said the company promised to consult with local residents and businesses six to eight weeks before starting each road closure.

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Comments (5)

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3:30pm Wed 28 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

There will be at least 29 stories about this in coming months as each "community" discovers that remaining insular and inhibiting commercial and residential developments in the towns has resulted in them no improvements to infrastructure and just one way in and out of the place.

Time to build a new A road alongside the railway between Swindon & Didcot - open up the countryside to new homes.
There will be at least 29 stories about this in coming months as each "community" discovers that remaining insular and inhibiting commercial and residential developments in the towns has resulted in them no improvements to infrastructure and just one way in and out of the place. Time to build a new A road alongside the railway between Swindon & Didcot - open up the countryside to new homes. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -6

4:01pm Wed 28 May 14

Wolf Pack says...

You don't expect Network Rail or this Government to give a toss about any one its a case of we will do what we want & sod the rest of you.
You don't expect Network Rail or this Government to give a toss about any one its a case of we will do what we want & sod the rest of you. Wolf Pack
  • Score: 3

10:47am Thu 29 May 14

Valeyokel says...

There's no room to put a temporary bridge alongside the existing one at Challow Station. There are light industrial premises immediately on the west side of the bridge and a large signal gantry on the east. We will just have to deal with it.
There's no room to put a temporary bridge alongside the existing one at Challow Station. There are light industrial premises immediately on the west side of the bridge and a large signal gantry on the east. We will just have to deal with it. Valeyokel
  • Score: 0

1:09pm Thu 29 May 14

RICHYRICH09 says...

I have been following this story since it was first aired and am very disappointed with Network Rail, the disruption these works is going to cause is unthinkable, not to say the blot on the landscape with unsightly pylons, it just goes to show what little progress has been made on the railways.
On the flip slide of these works, if they are going to cause massive delays, why not soften the blow by opening up Grove station once and for all.
I have been following this story since it was first aired and am very disappointed with Network Rail, the disruption these works is going to cause is unthinkable, not to say the blot on the landscape with unsightly pylons, it just goes to show what little progress has been made on the railways. On the flip slide of these works, if they are going to cause massive delays, why not soften the blow by opening up Grove station once and for all. RICHYRICH09
  • Score: 0

10:51am Tue 3 Jun 14

LukeDuke says...

Jenny Hannaby is right... it is disgraceful! It's going to properly mess with my commute. Not sure the General Lee will be able to make the distance leaping that divide.
I digress.. What I'm confused by (and for the record that is easily done...) is if say the power lines were to be dropped to ground level and buried as they passed under bridges then obviously be raised again on tuther side would the trains just grind to a halt in those few yards? I'd expect them to have some form of battery to provide enough juice to power certain functions just for those few seconds? I maybe wrong, I know nothing of how these things work... I'm still puzzled by garden gate if I'm honest. Did I hear correctly that for certain bridges they're proposing to gradient/lower the track to allow the power lines to pass under? Could they not do that in these circumstances? Maybe the Grove/Challow/Steven
ton bridges are all in areas susceptible to flooding? Just some thoughts...
Jenny Hannaby is right... it is disgraceful! It's going to properly mess with my commute. Not sure the General Lee will be able to make the distance leaping that divide. I digress.. What I'm confused by (and for the record that is easily done...) is if say the power lines were to be dropped to ground level and buried as they passed under bridges then obviously be raised again on tuther side would the trains just grind to a halt in those few yards? I'd expect them to have some form of battery to provide enough juice to power certain functions just for those few seconds? I maybe wrong, I know nothing of how these things work... I'm still puzzled by garden gate if I'm honest. Did I hear correctly that for certain bridges they're proposing to gradient/lower the track to allow the power lines to pass under? Could they not do that in these circumstances? Maybe the Grove/Challow/Steven ton bridges are all in areas susceptible to flooding? Just some thoughts... LukeDuke
  • Score: -1

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