Full approval has now been given for the scheme following work by Reading Council to keep costs down. The council will now award the contract to the successful bidder. The improvements are forecast to be completed by April 2014.
The scheme includes road improvements which will make it easier for road users, bus passengers, pedestrians and cyclists to access the station. The funding comes in addition to a £850 million rebuilding programme for the station - allowing significant improvements to train services, including electrification of the line between London, Bristol, Oxford and Newbury.
Norman Baker said:
I am delighted to confirm that the government is investing £9.6 million towards these improvements which will help economic growth and further encourage rail travel.
The works will improve access to this station - a critical hub in Britain’s rail network - allowing passengers to enjoy the full benefits of the wider redevelopment, the further electrification of the Great Western Main Line and the associated improvement in train services.
The improvements include:
- direct access to the new northern and south-western station entrances
- safe, secure and step-free pedestrian access
- new and improved walking and cycling routes
- significantly increased secure cycle parking provision
- a new junction providing access to the new northern entrance
Today’s announcement grants the Reading station highway improvements a “full approval” following the re-confirmed “Conditional Approval” granted in December 2010.
The works are being led by Reading Borough Council in coordination with Network Rail.
The project previously approved in March 2010 by the previous government was a £16.4 million package of highway improvements to which the previous department had allocated up to £15 million. Following last year’s Spending Review, the department encouraged the council to review the scheme to reduce the department’s contribution and increase the local contribution.
Reading decided to defer planned improvements at the junctions of Portman Road/Oxford Road and Caversham Road/Richfield Avenue until a later date and those works will be funded from other sources.
The council has contained the project’s costs within the budget set in December 2010 by value engineering the project in order to reduce costs and ensure delivery within budget.
Works are due to start in October and complete by spring 2014.
This project will provide additional benefits to those being delivered by the separate project to rebuild and enlarge the station led by Network Rail under a remit issued by the department. The latter involves the provision of additional platforms, along with a new viaduct and underpasses to remove a number of conflicting train movements which occur at present. The design is compatible with the electrification of the Great Western Main Line between Paddington, Oxford, Newbury, Bristol and Cardiff and the deployment of the new Inter City Express train fleet by 2017. A new train care depot is also being constructed to accommodate both diesel and electric trains. The new station is designed to manage twice the present levels of business and the whole scheme is planned for completion by 2016.
The total cost is £850 million.