NETWORK RAIL is considering introducing a one-way system to mitigate the impact of closing the Challow Station roadbridge for four months.

At a public consultation in Faringdon’s Corn Exchange, Network Rail and Oxfordshire County Council staff were on hand to assuage people’s fears over the closure.

Members of the public gave their ideas on how to combat the problem, including the suggestion of a one-way route.

Senior communications manager for Network Rail Julian Burnell said: “We need to get the experience and knowledge of people who live here.

“We want them to talk to us and share their thoughts on our plans and how they will be affected.”

He added: “We will take all this expertise and then use it to manage the rate of disruption. There have been some inspirational suggestions about one-way systems that we are going to look at.”

The bridge needs to be rebuilt as part of Network Rail’s £1bn electrification scheme, meaning the A417 will be closed from September to December.

Otherwise known as Faringdon Road, it carries an average 6,500 journeys a day between Faringdon and Wantage.

Last month, Network Rail announced it would not close the A338 Station Road Bridge for six months as previously planned.

Instead the company will build a new bridge off-site, then close the road for “a short period” while it installs the new bridge.

More than 800 people have signed an online protest petition to have the same done in Challow.

But Mr Burnell said Network Rail does not own the land next to the bridge, so cannot repeat the process.

Longworth’s district councillor Anthony Hayward said: “It’s very positive. They have been listening to people and what they have to say.

“You can see there’s a land issue and it’s impossible to do the same as what’s happening for the A338.

“There’s not the same volume of traffic on the A417 as the A338 so it’s not as high-priority.”

The Goosey resident added: “My main concern is the rat runs which will develop – or not if everything goes according to plan. I have been told they will monitor it to see if anything needs to be changed or improved.”

But Faringdon town councillor Alex Meredith, who started the online petition, said: “It obviously could be done, it would just take a bit more time and money.

“They have known about this since 2009. Why didn’t they make an arrangement to talk to the landowners? There’s always going to be a solution. They have left it too late.’’

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