A MAJOR road into Oxford is to close for a ‘significant period of time’ due to work to replace a bridge.

The rail bridge in Botley Road will need to be replaced as part of Network Rail’s plans to increase capacity at Oxford Train Station, with this leading to the complete closure of Botley Road.

The station is being expanded as it is ‘close to full capacity’, with services being increased from 2024.

A spokesperson for Network Rail told the Oxford Mail that both Botley Road and the station will be closed next summer.

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While timings on how long the closure will last are unconfirmed, it is believed that it could be approximately three months.

The Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are currently in discussions with Oxfordshire County Council about our programme of work for the station, which is in the process of being finalised by our contractor, Kier.

“The key period for us on Botley Road will be next summer when we need to replace the bridge.

“This will mean the road and station will need to be completely closed. This is due to take place at the end of July or start of August.

“Ahead of that we will need to do preparation work, including the diversion of utility services. We are currently discussing all this with Oxfordshire County Council to establish best way of doing this.”

Oxford Mail: File photo of traffic in Botley Road. Picture: Ed NixFile photo of traffic in Botley Road. Picture: Ed Nix

Lines in and out of Oxford Station are already set to be closed over four weekends in September and October, to facilitate the second phase of works to increase capacity.

This is currently set for the weekends of September 10-11, 17-18, and 24-25, plus October 1-2.

Buses will replace regular train services.

Oxford Mail: File image of Oxford Train Station: Picture: Greg BlatchfordFile image of Oxford Train Station: Picture: Greg Blatchford (Image: Greg Blatchford)

A county council spokesperson said: “Oxfordshire County Council, as highways authority, is exploring all options in minimising traffic disruption in connection with work due to be carried out to expand Oxford Station later this year and in 2023.

“No decisions have yet been taken, but the work will inevitably impact on users of Botley Road for a significant period of time.

“We are working with Network Rail, and also with Thames Water, who it is hoped can take advantage of the closure to carry out repairs on Osney Bridge and avoid more disruption at a later date.

“We are also looking at using the closure as an opportunity to complete work on the Botley Road corridor, again to reduce future disruption.

“We will make announcements when arrangements have been made and will be keeping residents and road users informed about the plans as soon as we can.

“This project is necessary to improve Oxford’s rail links and will be welcomed by train users as it will expand Oxford Station, enabling more train services to run, as well as increasing the capacity of Botley Road bridge under the railway for road users, including cyclists.”

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This story was written by Liam Rice, he joined the team in 2019 as a multimedia reporter.

Liam covers politics, travel and transport. He occasionally covers Oxford United.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Liam.rice@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailLiamRice