Oxford Botley Road Rail Bridge design plans approved

Botley Road, one of the main routes into Oxford[1], has been shut for over a year as part of a GBP161million project to allow for "major improvements". Design plans for a new toucan crossing, raised side road entry treatments, shared use footway and cycletrack and new crossing point were given the green light by highways chief Andrew Gant in a cabinet member for transport meeting on Thursday morning (May 23) this week. thisisoxfordshire: Newly-approved design plan.Newly-approved design plan. (Image: Network Rail)

The plans relate to ongoing work to provide a new western entrance to the city station for passengers and to replace the existing rail bridge. In Thursday's meeting, Mr Gant referenced a consultation comment which called the proposals "yet another ideologically motivated boondoggle of nonsense that wastes my money on pointless dreck - probably because you've figured out a way to skim off the contract". thisisoxfordshire: Andrew Gant in meeting.Andrew Gant in meeting. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council.)

The highways chief said: "While you do have a democratic right to express your views through a consultation response you are not entitled to accuse councillors or officers of a potentially criminal offence of corruption so you have abused that right I am afraid." Another response referenced was one which responded to each aspect of the scheme as "all BS". Mr Gant said: "I can't incorporate what you think if you don't tell me what you think."

It was acknowledged at the meeting there had been a "lot of concern expressed in consultation responses about potential conflict between cyclist and pedestrians in the tunnel". thisisoxfordshire: Traffic in Botley Road.Traffic in Botley Road. (Image: Oxford Mail) This comes as fears and objections were raised that "older and more vulnerable" residents may be at risk due to the space being shared between cyclists and pedestrians.

Mr Gant said: "Some people are saying cyclists should be physically separated from pedestrians - in an ideal world that would be better but there simply isn't the space to do that." He added there were "already many shared spaces in Oxford", "the fact is it doesn't actually cause accidents" and "it is a billion times better than what we've all been used to". As part of the new bridge, two 4m wide tunnels under the rail tracks will be provided, one on each side of Botley Road.

The space would be shared equally between cyclists and pedestrians with the area for each user group demarcated through the use of surfacing materials, markings and signage. thisisoxfordshire: The bridge before work began.The bridge before work began. (Image: Oxfordshire County Council) On the north side of the Botley Road, from Cripley Road as far as Abbey Road, the existing footway would be converted to shared use as a footpath and cycle way.

On the south side, from Mill Street to a point just opposite the eastern kerb line of Abbey Road, the existing footway would be converted to shared use with cyclists.

Other details covered in the key design plans include raised side road entry treatments and informal uncontrolled crossings.

References

  1. ^ Oxford (www.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk)
  2. ^ Oxfordshire gets new 20mph speed limits in 11 areas (www.oxfordmail.co.uk)