Berkshire

Reading's Cow Lane opens as two-way route for first time

Reading mayor Deborah Edwards on Cow Lane Image copyright Alamy
Image caption Cow Lane has opened as a two-way system for the first time

A major traffic route has opened to two-way traffic for the first time after eight years of construction work.

The old Cow Lane bridge in Reading was demolished as part of the £850m Network Rail scheme aimed at removing a major bottleneck in the town.

The new route will be free of traffic lights and "create a safer and more pleasant local environment for residents and businesses on Oxford Road", the rail firm said.

It opened at a ceremony on Monday.

The new construction will also allow for double-decker buses and lorries to travel through the Cow Lane route.

Work to build new pedestrian and cycle route under the bridges - another feature of the much-delayed scheme - will carry on after 25 February.

Councillor Tony Page told the BBC: "Bus routes will be able to use this corridor in a way they haven't been able to before.

"While there are no immediate plans for bus services along and under the Cow Lane bridges we'll be working with Reading buses to develop new services that will exploit this opportunity."

Construction at Cow Lane meant that for months traffic was limited to one-way as work took place to make the underpass wide enough to allow for two lanes.

Image caption Cow Lane bridge was demolished as part of the £850m scheme

Completion of the Network Rail project was delayed on multiple occasions because of what the rail firm branded "unforeseen issues".

In May last year, works were delayed for six months due to "ground conditions, drainage issues and uncharted buried services", the firm's Steve Coe said.

Fresh delays in August last year, when the project was originally due to finish, were caused by the appearance of a huge hole .

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