A RAILWAY line in an Oxfordshire town will be temporarily closed this spring to allow a new bridge to be built over it.

Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council have been working together on a project delivered by Network Rail to build the bridge in Bicester.

ALSO READ: Network Rail will build a bridge to prepare for new Bicester road

It forms part of the first phase of the A4095 Howes Lane road realignment project, which will see a bridge and underpass built to enable access both over and under the railway, connecting two sides of Bicester's 6,000-home eco town.

Bicester Advertiser: Cherwell District Council secured funding for the project in 2018

Work on the bridge will go ahead this Easter between April 2 and April 5 over a 101 hour period to keep rail disruption to the absolute minimum.

There will be some movement of goods vehicles around the area of construction to the west of Bucknell Road but no road closures are expected. All construction work is due to be complete by the summer.

Councillor Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for environment said: “This scheme will help deliver positive impacts on the lives of local people of a growing community. It will allow people in this area of Bicester to adopt environmentally responsible forms of travel with options and infrastructure to enable cycling and walking.

"Our goal is to offer infrastructure which combines benefits of active travel with reducing congestion.”

As well as the new bridge, the separate pedestrian underpass will be further to the north.

Bicester Advertiser:

The completion of both structures will contribute to one of the scheme’s overall aims – to reduce traffic through Bicester town centre.

ALSO READ: Habitats permanently lost due to tunnel plan at Bicester railway

It is also hoped to improve road safety, support better public transport and encourage new and existing residents to use more sustainable transport with enhanced pedestrian and cycle routes, which are all key elements of Bicester garden town.

By building an underpass, a new bridleway will be created to connect the two sides of the proposed development site allowing for better connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians.

The scheme will also unlock land to enable housing development and community facilities to the north-west of the garden town and support 'healthy new town principles'.

The railway between Bicester North and Banbury will be closed while work takes place, meaning trains to London Marylebone will be diverted via Oxford and a replacement bus will run between Bicester North and Banbury, calling at Kings Sutton.

Those travelling by train over the Easter weekend are advised to leave more time to travel and to check their journey with their train operator or on the National Rail website.

The project is funded by Homes England through the garden town project and funding from the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.

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