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Further work to clear vegetation, including some trees, from the disused railway line recommenced on 1 September to enable the first stage of construction of the Bus Rapid Transit Phase1, in compliance with the planning permission.
Trees will be inspected for bat roosts and bird nests before any work is carried out on them, and will only take place if there are no bats or unfledged birds present. Bird and bat boxes have already been installed along and around the route as part of the mitigation works to accommodate wildlife.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Environment and Chairman of Transport for South Hampshire, said:
"The first stages of construction always create the biggest impact around a site as construction works actually begin. However, despite the immediate loss of further trees and vegetation, it has always been part of the plan to include major areas of new and replacement landscape planting as well as extensive sections of acoustic fence up to 2m high, which will all be in place before the bus route opens. Overall, on completion of the development there will be more trees and vegetation in place than will have been removed during construction, resulting in a mixture of woodland, grassland and shrub."
These works will not have any direct impact on existing traffic flows in the area, as they are predominantly confined to the old railway corridor and embankments. A new temporary access to the construction site will be put in place on the A32 which will need to cross part of the pavement there and the necessary safety works to protect pedestrians will be put in place.
All works will take place in line with normal site operating hours between 7am and 6:30pm from Monday to Friday, and 8am to 5pm on Saturday.
The switchover of traffic on Newgate Lane is expected to take place in the second half of September, once construction of the temporary embankment and link road have been completed . The provision of this temporary route will allow traffic to flow as normal during the construction of the new bridge and will actually result in a reduction in both length of time and cost of the construction programme.
This section of the BRT scheme is part of a proposed wider integrated transport strategy for South Hampshire which aims to reduce the need to travel, provide better public transport options, improve traffic and network management and invest in new infrastructure for the future.