Monday, 19 March 2012

Traffic to be diverted through Theale?

I have received the following from West Berkshire Council Highways department:

I would like to update you on developments regarding the above closure for Network Rail's electrification works.

Currently the formal signed diversion route for the closure is along Ufton Lane.   Following comments from local residents and observations by the Highway Inspector for that area, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the surface of Ufton Lane will not be able to withstand the amount of traffic using it for the duration of NR's works.  (Sulhamstead Hill is currently programmed to be closed until 11 July 2012).

We are therefore instructing Network Rail that the formal signed diversion route be altered to use the Burghfield Rd through Burghfield Common and Village to Amners Farm, then left into Deans Copse Road past the gravel pits to Sheffield Bottom and onto the A4/Theale bypass.  Ufton Lane would then be signed as 'suitable for Local Traffic only'.  Clearly this will not stop those in 'the know' from using Ufton Lane but at least it will remove some vehicular traffic from the route and limit the damage.

It is intended that Network Rail will have the new diversion signage in place for Monday

I have major concerns about this because the diversion is via Theale swing bridge. I have therefore sent the following response:

this route appears to be via Sheffield swing bridge (Theale swing bridge) over the canal. This bridge has both a weight and a width limit and is not suitable for large vehicles.
Also, the signage at the Theale end of the A4 only refers to Sulhamstead railway bridge. There are no signs mentioning the fact that both railway bridges in Aldermaston are closed. There were major traffic hold-ups last week caused by the closures.
Eastbound on the A4, I have only seen signs saying that the Station Road bridge in Aldermaston is closed. I have not seen signs that the A340 bridge is also closed.

Alan Macro
Councillor for Theale

19th March 2012

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