We’re replacing Botley Road bridge, enabling upgrades to Oxford station, the wider railway and road, cycle and pedestrian routes.
Work around the bridge started in January 2023 and is due for completion in the autumn of 2024. Botley Road was closed in April 2023 and due to the increased complexity of this project, it will now remain closed until October 2024.
What work is taking place?
The current railway bridge spanning Botley Road needs to be replaced, so that an additional railway line can be added into the station, and so 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.
Underground brick arch
Initial surveys found a brick structure underneath Botley Road bridge. Upon closing the road more detailed studies were possible and revealed this is much larger than historical records indicated. Rather than being just underneath the bridge, it spans from Frideswide Square to Rodger Dudman Way – 100 metres or so in length and up to 1 metre thick.
Our investigations indicate it is a Victorian structure that provides stability to the bridge above, as well as managing ground water levels. As a result we’ve taken time to revise our plans to include stabilising the ground and creating a dry and safe working area; so that we can divert the pipes and cables under the road.
Due to the increased work to facilitate the utility diversions and bridge replacement in August we moved to 24-hour working, completing the noisiest activities in daylight hours.
In order to complete the project by the end of 2024, we have developed a revised programme which will require Botley Road to remain closed while key activities are completed.
In 2024 the bridge will then be replaced. The new bridge will bring:
- Space for an additional railway line through the station, increasing capacity
- Room for double decker buses to pass underneath
- A four-metre cycle and footpath on each side of the road, increasing safety
- An improved road layout with safer junctions
- Better drainage
We are working with Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, as well as train operators and other partners, throughout this upgrade.
When is this work taking place?
A timeline for the project is as follows:
- January to March 2023 – demolition of buildings adjacent to the bridge
- 11 April 2023 – road closure to enable utilities diversions
- April to August 2023 – detailed surveys uncovered extent of the brick arch, new plan developed and working hours extended
- September to October 2023 – ground stabilisation work
- October 2023 – utilities diversions work gets fully underway
- March to July 2024 – preparations for highway work and bridge replacement
- Late July 2024 – Bridge replacement
- August to October 2024 – completion of highways work
How will this work affect me?
Botley Road closure
The closure of Botley Road has been extended and will now continue through 2023 until October 2024. During this time::
- Motorists that usually use Botley Road to get into the city are advised to use one of the city’s Park & Ride sites (Seacourt is closest as it is located on Botley Road) or to take an alternative route into the city.*
- Buses will turn around just before the rail bridge allowing passengers to continue their journey to the railway station and into the city centre on foot.
- Pedestrians and cyclists will have access to the railway station and onwards into the city throughout the work, via the arched pedestrian tunnel underneath the bridge.
- Local residents’ access to their homes will remain at all times, with some diversions in place.
* Abingdon Road, Banbury Road or Woodstock Road are recommended alternative routes, each giving easy access to the city’s park and ride services.
Changes to train services
Train services resumed on Monday 7 August, following the successful completion of our nine-day track and signalling upgrade. Follow up work means train services are affected again on Sundays 13 August, 10 September and 15 October.
Rail replacement bus services will again run from Becket Street car park.
Travelling by bus
Buses continue to serve Botley Road but during the road closure terminate at stops either side of the railway bridge. If you need to continue your journey, you will need to get off, walk under the bridge on the footpath, and catch a new bus.
Further travel advice is available on the Oxfordshire County Council website:
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