Botley Road works ‘not delayed by flooding’, say train bosses

Water levels have risen across Oxford[1] following rainfall from Storm Henk with Botley Road among the routes which have had surface water.

It comes as the key road into the city is closed to traffic at the rail bridge as the rail authority works on a £160m upgrade to Oxford station.

Although rail bosses initially pledged to reopen the road for four months from the end of October over the festive period, the road remained closed until all work is completed in October 2024.

But Network Rail has confirmed the wet weather has not caused a further delay to the work despite large puddles appearing under the bridge.

The company said pumps were used to drain the water collected and resume the works that included replacing the rail bridge.

A Network Rail spokeswoman said: “While the significant rainfall over Christmas and New Year caused water to build up on our work site at Botley Road, highlighting the challenges of managing water levels when working so close to the water table, we were able to manage this with the use of pumps to drain the water.

“With the water pumped away, work resumed as planned last week and our teams are now digging the trench that will be used to divert the utilities.

“Part of our work to replace the bridge and improve the road will be to install a new pump system to help prevent future flooding.”

Oxford Mail: Botley Road work

A spokesman for the county[3] council added: "Oxfordshire County Council is in regular contact with Network Rail about the progress of the project."

Botley Road has been closed since last April.

Sections of the road have been flooded over the past few days with surface water building up on two stretches of the route.

These areas are near the Holly Bush pub and St Frideswide's Church towards the rail station, then also outside McDonald's where traffic lights are located.

Network Rail bosses previously apologised after backtracking on their decision to have a break from the closure of Botley Road.

They said the project was taking longer than expected due to the discovery of a brick-built arch beneath the road.

The work is taking place as Network Rail says the existing railway bridge spanning Botley Road needs to be replaced, so that an additional railway line can be added into the station.

This would also mean that buses, cyclists and pedestrians can more easily access the city centre.

In preparation, 11 different utility services need to divert their pipes and cables under the bridge.


  1. ^ Oxford (
  2. ^ Flooding issues continue across Oxfordshire following Storm Henk (
  3. ^ county (