Electrification moves a step closer as Royal Wootton Bassett bridge set to reopen

The A3102 in Royal Wootton Bassett is set to reopen on 20 April 2017 following the reconstruction of the Bath Road bridge, paving the way for a new fleet of electric trains.

Network Rail has been working on the bridge since late October 2016 as part of its programme to modernise the Great Western Main Line from London to Cardiff.

Garry Fernand, Network Rail project manager for Bath Road bridge, said: “The improvements we are carrying out in Royal Wootton Bassett as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan are extensive but essential in order to bring our railway into the 21st century and improve passengers’ experience.

“We’d like to thank residents and motorists for their patience and understanding during the bridge reconstructions, which will pave the way for electrification and the benefits this will bring.”

During the closure, traffic has been using a temporary link road built by Network Rail to save motorists a 30-mile detour. The temporary road will close to traffic when the bridge reopens.

The bridge reconstruction has created the additional space needed for the overhead lines that will power the new electric trains.

In addition, Network Rail has carried out drainage work on the highway, to lower the risk of flooding, and has prepared the adjacent listed Hunts Mill bridge for forthcoming work to raise its parapets. The parapets, or sides, of the bridge need to be made higher to provide a safe distance between those using the bridge and the high-voltage electricity cables. Specially-made railings are due to be added to the bridge overnight between 8 May and 15 May 2017, with two-way temporary traffic lights in place.

The track beneath Hunts Mill bridge will be lowered over the weekends of 27-29 May and 10-11 June 2017 to create the required space, while protecting the bridge’s historic architecture.

Bath Road was the second bridge in the town to be reconstructed by Network Rail. Work on the Marlborough Road bridge was carried out between March and October 2016.

Throughout Network Rail’s work in Royal Wootton Bassett, Network Rail has worked closely with Wiltshire Council to ensure both the Marlborough Road and A3102 bridges were closed for the shortest time possible, minimising disruption to residents and businesses.