SOME 6,800 drivers between Wantage and Faringdon will be asked to take a 24-mile diversion route for 13 weeks this autumn.

Commuters have been told to take the A420 and A338 while Network Rail rebuilds Challow Station Road bridge on the A417 from Saturday, September 6.

Those cars will join the 13,000 daily journeys already made on the A338 between Wantage and Oxford.

Network Rail and Oxfordshire County Council revealed the proposed diversion at a meeting at Faringdon’s Corn Exchange on Tuesday night attended by about 100 residents.

Despite an online petition against the closure – now with 1,000 signatures – Network Rail said no alternative plans are being considered.

Western and Wales director and Faringdon resident Robbie Burns compared the £1.6m cost, just to rebuild the bridge, with more than £3m to put a temporary or permanent road bridge alongside.

Mr Burns said if he had known the costs and time implications earlier he would not have agreed to build a replacement bridge, alongside the existing bridge on the A338, while that is rebuilt next year.

The firm will, however, build a temporary bridge for services, pedestrians and cyclists for the duration of the works.

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