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Monday, 20 July 2020

Reading Bridge re-opens early and creation of more cycle lanes

Reading Borough Council published the press release below Monday 20 July. It details new temporary cycle lanes being put in to create more space for residents wishing to socially distance while fewer choose to travel on public transport.

I've highlighted in yellow the paragraphs relating to Reading Bridge and Caversham as these may be of particular interest.

WORK begins this week to roll out the next phase of new cycle lanes in Reading to make travelling by bike easier in response to the Covid 19 pandemic.

 

Road markings for new cycle lanes will be put in place along the Oxford Road – from Norcot Road to the edge of the borough boundary to the west – Southampton Street, Silver Street, Mount Pleasant and Whitley Street. The new cycle lanes are expected to be open for use by cyclists by the end of July. Plans for a brand new cycle scheme along Redlands Road is also in the final stages of development and expected to be implemented in early August.

 

The raft of temporary new cycle lanes form part of Reading Borough Council’s response to the Covid 19 pandemic, and is in line with the Government’s Active Travel programme. With social distancing measures likely to remain in place for some considerable time, the Council has moved to design a series of schemes to create more space for pedestrians and cyclists, which recognises the on-going restrictions on the capacity of local public transport.

 

The Council quickly implemented temporary signs and markings throughout the town centre, reminding visitors about the need to socially distance. Similar measures are a being rolled out to other busy local centres across the town.

 

Temporary, advisory cycle lanes have also been implemented across Reading Bridge to provide an additional cycle link across the Thames by removing one lane of traffic. While Reading Bridge closed in late June for Southern Gas Networks (SGN) to replace two gas pipes, it re-opened again three weeks ahead of schedule yesterday (19th July). This means both northbound and southbound cycle lanes have now been reinstated and are fully operational.

 

With Reading Bridge re-opening three weeks ahead of schedule, it means that the introduction of the previously announced new temporary one way systems along Gosbrook Road (Westfield Road to Prospect Street), and Westfield Road (Henley Road junction to Gosbrook Road), to increase capacity for walking and cycling, and with segregated new cycle facilities, can go live next week.

 

A new one way system at Sidmouth Street – with the introduction of a segregated new two-way cycle lane – is expected to become operational by the end of July. The introduction of this scheme was delayed due to difficulties sourcing the necessary equipment, arising from the heavy demands from scores of local authorities across the country all introducing active travel schemes at the same time:

 

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

 

“The introduction of these new advisory cycle lanes forms part of the Council’s response to on-going social distancing guidelines, and the reduced capacity on public transport, which means it is essential we create more space for people to walk and cycle safely.

 

“As with the previously announced schemes on Reading Bridge, Gosbrook and Westfield Roads and Sidmouth Street, it is important to note these are temporary schemes which may be made permanent at a later stage, once we see how well they operate and only after detailed public consultation.

 

“The re opening of Reading Bridge three weeks early, following work to replace two gas mains by SGN, means we can now get on with implementing the new one way system and segregated cycle lanes on Gosbrook Road and Westfield Road. We hope this will be fully operational by the end of the month, in addition to the dedicated new cycle lanes in Sidmouth Street.”

 

Reading Borough Council is developing a dedicated new webpage as a point of information for all of the Council’s Active Travel schemes. This will go live in the coming days and can be found at www.reading.gov.uk/activetravel

Friday, 26 June 2020

Reading Bridge closure on 29 June for 6 weeks

Urgent gas mains replacement – Reading Bridge, George Street

Bridge closure: from Monday 29 June for approximately six weeks

 

 

A message from SGN:

"Firstly, please accept our apologies for such short notification of the work outlined below.  Following the tragic events in Reading last weekend, we were requested to hold on sending out wider communications until now.   

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Reading.

 

"As I’m sure you are already be aware, SGN have been given the approval to commence urgent work to replace two strategic gas mains on George Street/Reading Bridge.   The gas mains being replaced are mandatory gas pipes that supply Reading and Caversham and have a priority rating to be replaced.  We will be replacing the old metal gas pipes with a new plastic pipes that will ensure we can continue to provide gas safely and efficiently to the local area long into the future.  Their replacement will also significantly reduce the risk of future leaks resulting in disruptive emergency works and potential unplanned closures of Reading Bridge.

 

"You may recall we attempted to replace one of the gas mains across the bridge last year, following further on-site investigation and discovering there was a potential of losing local gas supplies, our project team immediately stopped work, sending the project back to our network specialist teams to be re-engineered.   Following their direction, we will be now be replacing both mains to ensure we can maintain the network integrity and supply for the community.  

 

"Work on the bridge will start on Monday 29 June for approximately six weeks, with the closure in place for the duration. There will be no vehicle access across Reading Bridge, access to George Street will be from the north side of the bridge via the B3345 and a signed diversion will be in place.

 

"Access across the bridge will be maintained for pedestrians and cyclists.  To support social distancing guidelines, there will be two pedestrian walkways and two cycle paths across the bridge.  Each pathway/cycleway will be clearly signposted with the direction of traffic flow.  

 

"We appreciate this work will be disruptive for road users at a crucial time for the town returning to some normality following COVID 19 lockdown.     You may also question why this work couldn’t have taken place sooner during the full lockdown.  Like all organisations SGN have been following Government guidelines and only returning to planned works when advised it is safe to do so for the public and our engineers.  To protect our workforce and operational teams, SGN have only continued with emergency work during the lockdown.

 

"At the request of the local authority, we have resourced this project to bring forward these works to allow at least some of work to be carried out whilst the road networks are still quieter than normal.  It is also vital that we carry out this work during the summer months to ensure we can maintain network reliability.  Carrying this work out in cooler months would put significant pressure on the gas network and local supplies to Reading and Caversham.  

 

"I would like to reassure you, SGN are working closely with UK Government and public health bodies to make sure we carry out our project in line with all current coronavirus safety guidance. We have no plans to interrupt gas supplies to homes or businesses, and our engineers won’t be calling at residents’ homes other than in the case of an emergency where strict social distancing measures will be adhered to.

 

"We have extra safety precautions in place to protect our colleagues and our communities from the virus. Our colleagues will be keeping to social distancing guidelines on our sites and we’d ask communities to keep their distance too. There’s more information about our coronavirus response on our website: www.sgn.co.uk/coronavirus

 

"We will be working a seven-day week with support from additional teams. Due to local environmental restrictions, night-time works will be kept to a minimum and only when necessary. We would like to reassure you that our engineers will be working as quickly and as safely as possible to complete this work without delay.

 

"If you’d like to get in touch with us about this project, please call our Customer Service team on 0800 912 1700 who will be happy to direct your enquiry. There’s more information about our coronavirus plans, as well as other ways to contact us, on our website: sgn.co.uk/coronavirus."

 

sgn.co.uk

Follow on Twitter: @SGNgas