Three of UK's largest cranes heave out sections of concrete railway flyover in Milton Keynes

A road will be partially closed for three months while three of the largest cranes in the UK work in tandem to lift out sections of Bletchley flyover.

By Sally Murrer
Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 3:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 2nd July 2020, 3:08 pm

Huge sections of the concrete flyover, built in the early 1960s, are being removed in order to build the first direct rail link between Oxford, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury in more than 50 years.

Since April work has been under way to remove concrete spans so the structure can be rebuilt to modern standards as part of the East West Rail project.

Now the sections above Buckingham Road, the main route in and out of Bletchley, are being lifted out.

Bletchley flyover

One giant crane will be installed on Buckingham Road itself requiring its closure to traffic from July 5 to August 30.

Tim Shoveller, managing director for Network Rail’s North West and Central region, said: “The work to remove Bletchley flyover as part of the East West Rail project is a hugely impressive feat of engineering. I thank local people and road-users for their patience as the project moves into this next phase over Buckingham Road.

“East West Rail will transform connectivity and journey times across the heart of the country. The resulting low-carbon transport system will bring huge benefits to passengers and businesses - driving economic growth and creating opportunities for housing and new jobs.”

Pedestrian access will be maintained by a protected walkway so people can still cross Buckingham Road throughout the work.

The concrete flyover

At certain times this won’t be available but when the walkway is closed a shuttle bus, running every 15 minutes, will take people between the train station and bus station.

Jeff Booth, project leader for East West Rail Alliance, said: “This work is a vital part of the East West Rail project to re-establish train services between Oxford and Milton Keynes and the road needs to be closed so that we can carry out the work safely. We appreciate that closing the road can be disruptive to motorists and we’d like to apologise for any inconvenience this causes. We thank motorists in advance for their patience.”

From September 1 to December 7, Buckingham Road will then be partially closed to divert gas, electricity, telecoms, and drainage.

Traffic lights will be used to manage traffic and diversions will be in place. When the road needs to be closed entirely a full diversionary route will be signposted for motorists.

East West Rail is an ambitious project which will connect communities between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge with fast, affordable, environmentally sustainable transport, creating new opportunities for jobs and supporting the economic future of people across the region.

Once complete, phase 2 of East West Rail would connect communities and businesses between Oxford and Bedford, and Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, with:

There will be wo trains per hour each way between Oxford and Milton Keynes, one train per hour each way between Oxford and Bedford, and one train per hour each way between Milton Keynes and Aylesbury

The new railway will also connect the Great Western main line, Chiltern main line, West Coast main line and Midland main line - providing passengers with much-improved cross-country rail links from East to West.

This will help create jobs, boost economic growth, encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport and enable sustainable housing development for generations to come, says the company.