Page last updated at 16:59 GMT, Saturday, 13 March 2010

Road closure for Wolvercote viaduct replacement


The road works have taken a step forward

Part of the southbound A34 in Oxfordshire will close from Saturday night for a trial "bridge slide" as part of a viaduct replacement scheme.

The stretch will close from 2200 GMT until 1000 GMT on Sunday while engineers assess if they can slide the carriageway across at Wolvercote.

A diversion route will be in place via the Oxford Ring Road.

The Highways Agency is responsible for the two-year £44m project to replace the viaduct lane-by-lane.

A 40mph speed limit remains in place and two narrow lanes running both northbound and southbound on the A34 are enforced by average speed cameras.

The ongoing work also means that a 30mph speed limit remains on the A40, which runs under the viaduct, and will require occasional off-peak temporary traffic lights.

This has been a massive challenge, crossing a road, railway and canal, but we're on schedule
Peter O'Conner, Highways Agency

One of the cycleway and footpaths will be subject to short-term closures.

Diversion routes will be in place, with a temporary pedestrian crossing on the east side of the Wolvercote viaduct, to allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross safely.

The actual bridge slide will be carried out at the end of March and will mark the final stage of the major refurbishment project.

Work started in 2008 and is due to be completed in April.

The original viaduct was built in the 1960s and had reached the end of its natural life.

The Highways Agency believes the replacement viaduct should last for the next 120 years.

A company spokesman Peter O'Conner said: "This has been a massive challenge crossing a road, railway and canal but we're on schedule, we're pleased so far and we're confident the work will be completed on time."

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