New bridges delivered to help Bicester Garden Town flourish

A huge civil engineering project to build two new routes underneath the busy Chiltern main line has been completed this Easter.

Published: Tuesday, 6th April 2021

A £12.3m investment saw two underpasses built in north west Bicester to help traffic and people move more easily around the garden town in the future.

Over a 100 hour railway closure between 2-5 April, railway lines were ripped up and 21,000 tonnes of railway embankment were removed so two prefabricated underpass structures, with a combined weight of 2,100 tonnes, could be slowly driven into the new gaps by a transporter vehicle.

The project was delivered by Network Rail and Story Contracting on behalf of Homes England, Oxfordshire County Council and Cherwell District Council.

Robert Jolley, assistant director for growth and economy at Cherwell District Council, said: “This has been a key project for the development of Bicester Garden Town, and is an extraordinary example of multi-agency working bringing significant key players together with a clear, common purpose.  It has also involved the productive use of both Growth Deal and other funding, to deliver large-scale positive changes for our communities.

“Working with partners, we have unlocked important land to the north west of Bicester, creating accessible walking and cycling routes for our future residents to enjoy.”

Dave Penney, Network Rail’s Central route director, said: “This £12.3m investment in Bicester to create two new routes under the railway will not only benefit the flow of people and traffic, but also help the both local councils' regeneration vision. It’s a great example of how the rail industry can work in partnership with local authorities to unlock opportunities and growth for communities.”

Eleni Jordan, commercial and customer strategy director at Chiltern Railways, said: “We’re delighted that this project has been successfully completed. Chiltern Railways and Network Rail have worked hard to minimise disruption for our customers across the Easter weekend.

“These improvements in Bicester will have a positive impact on the local area and we are sure our customers will benefit from the new underpasses.”