Reading Bottle-Neck Work Starts

3 November 2017, 10:30

Cow Lane bridge in Reading

After decades of discussions Cow Lane is finally being widened.

The underpass will be closed to traffic this weekend to allow Network Rail to remove the old bridge as part of work to improve traffic flow and safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

The planned improvements at Cow Lane bridges will remove the current height restriction and the long-standing traffic bottleneck in west Reading by creating a wider road big enough to allow two vehicles to safely pass, as well as allowing the future use of double-deck buses for the first time ever.

When complete, the widening and lowering of the road will create an important alternative route for HGVs, commercial and other traffic passing through west Reading. This will result in a better and safer local environment for residents and businesses along the Oxford Road.

It will also mean traffic lights will no longer be needed through the bridges and there will be substantial benefits for pedestrians and cyclists, with new shared use footway/cycleways introduced through the bridge.

Work began on site following this year’s Reading Festival and is due to be completed before next year’s festival at the end of August 2018.
Cow Lane will be closed from Friday, 3 November at 8pm until Monday, 6 November at 5am. A diversionary route will be in place, as agreed with Reading Borough Council, as detailed in the attached PDFs. 

A closure is also planned from Friday, 10 November at 8pm until Monday, 13 November at 5am as a contingency, which may not be required. Confirmation of whether this will be required will follow this weekend’s work. 

Shyam Samani, project manager for Network Rail, said: “I’d like to thank local residents and motorists in advance for their patience as we undertake this work.

“The work at Cow Lane, taking place as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan, is vital to improve traffic flow through Reading and also to deliver safer conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

“Anyone with any questions or concerns about this work can contact our community relations team at or call our 24/7 helpline on 03457 11 41 41.”

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “Work to remove the long-standing bottleneck at Cow Lane will be welcomed by residents across Reading, and in particular those living in West Reading and around the Oxford Road.

“Work by Network Rail to remove the existing bridge will of course cause some short term disruption but the closure was advertised well in advance, and is taking place over the weekend to minimise disruption.

“When complete in August next year, this will be an important alternative route for lorries, commercial and other traffic which are just passing through west Reading, resulting in a safer and more pleasant local environment for residents and businesses along the Oxford Road.

It will mean double decker buses will be able to cross Cow Lane for the first time ever, speeding up journey times for passengers. It will also mean traffic lights will no longer be needed through the bridges, with a new and safe route for both pedestrians and cyclists.”