A338 Wantage Road closure plan scrapped over concerns

A338 road bridge in Grove Network Rail is proposing to construct a new bridge off-site to keep the road open for longer

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A proposal to close a commuter route in Oxfordshire for six months has been scrapped after concerns were raised.

Network Rail wanted to close the A338 Wantage Road from Wantage to Oxford to rebuild a bridge in Grove.

Oxfordshire County Council turned down the request in January, as it could have meant a 18-mile (29km) detour for some drivers.

Network Rail is now proposing to construct the bridge off-site to keep the road open for longer

Under the new plans a closure will only be in place to install the bridge but Network Rail was unable to confirm how long this would be for.

'Massive relief'

In a statement, the firm's spokesperson said: "At our briefing for Oxfordshire County Councillors, Network Rail confirmed that they have listened to the concerns raised by [Wantage MP] Ed Vaizey and Oxfordshire County Council, and have now developed a proposal for the A338 Wantage Road bridge rebuild that will keep the road open."

In a statement, the firm said they had listened to concerns and "developed a proposal for the A338 Wantage Road bridge rebuild that will keep the road open".

Network Rail will meet with Oxfordshire County Council next week to discuss the detail of the project and start dates.

Councillor Matthew Barber, leader of Vale of White Horse District Council, said: "This news will be a massive relief to many people who live and work in the Vale who faced the prospect of having their lives significantly disrupted for six months while the electrification work takes place.

"With the scale of work that has to be carried out you have to expect some disruption, however the original plan was simply not acceptable.

"Thankfully Network Rail have now put forward a sensible alternative."

The work is part of the firm's £1bn rail electrification project.

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