Agenda item

Strategic Transport Schemes Update

A report providing the Committee with an update on progress with the delivery of the current programme of Strategic Transport Schemes in Reading.


The Executive Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report providing an update on progress with the delivery of the current programme of major transport schemes in the Borough namely:

South Reading Mass Rapid Transit

Phase 4 of the works was currently being constructed on site, which included an outbound bus lane on the A33 between Rose Kiln Lane and Lindisfarne Way, and the upgrade of the traffic signals to an intelligent method of control at the A33/Bennet Road gyratory.  Construction of the current phase of works had been delayed initially due to Covid-19 and more latterly due to significant technical delays with implementing the enhanced traffic signal arrangements on Bennet Road gyratory.  However, the signal upgrade works had been substantially completed and the new signals had been successfully operating the junction since January 2022.  The resolution of a few minor snagging issues with the signal upgrades were on-going to enable the full Phase 4 scheme to be fully completed.

Reading Green Park Station

With regard to Reading Green Park Station, following a review of scheme progress to date, additional funding of £2.25m from Great Western Railway and £2.015m from Network Rail had been secured to support the delivery of both Reading Green Park and the Reading West Station Upgrade scheme.  Construction of the station and multi-modal interchange had continued on site for the duration of the pandemic, but there had been impacts on the schedule resulting from Covid and Brexit impacts, material shortages, which had resulted in further delays to the programme.  The current timeline indicated construction works would be complete by spring 2022 and once complete, the station would go through a period of testing before its official opening and public use.  The Council was working with Network Rail and GWR to ensure that the station was open as soon as possible after construction works were completed.

Reading West Station Upgrade

Works to the northern footway, as part of the Reading West Upgrade, had been completed and works to the southern footway were due to be finished in summer 2022, with the remaining work to be carried out by utility companies to finish the required diversion works.  Following completion of these works GWR would take possession of the southern footway and commence their station building construction programme.  The overall project was currently projected to be complete by the end of 2022.  The Council would continue to work with railway partners, including Network Rail, to seek opportunities to secure funding for a full rebuild of the platforms, which was not currently affordable within the funding envelope for the current scheme. 

Tilehurst Station Upgrade

Network Rail had successfully secured funding to install lifts at Tilehurst station and the lifts would be added to the existing station footbridge which had passive provision designed in, which when complete would provide step free access to all platforms at the station.  The indicative timeline for delivery of the lift improvement works was set out in the report.

Active Travel Fund – Shinfield Road

A public consultation on the latest scheme designs for Shinfield Road, being delivered through Tranche 2 of the Active Travel Scheme, had been carried out between 26 October and 6 December 2021.  The feedback was currently being reviewed and incorporated into the final designs for scheme and an indictive timeline for delivery of the scheme was set out in the report.

School Streets Programme

A further joint School Street trial scheme for Maiden Erleigh School in Reading, UTC Reading and Alfred Sutton Primary School on Crescent Road had commenced on 28 February 2022, following preparations that had been carried out by the schools, local residents and the Council.  The scheme was currently running during the morning period from 8.15 am to 9.00 am as the school sought further volunteers to act as marshals for the afternoon period from 2.45 pm to 3.30 pm.  The Experimental Traffic Regulation Order for the scheme ran for six months from this date, which included the opportunity for comments and objections to the scheme to be submitted to the Council.  A decision on whether to make individual School Street schemes permanent would need to be made within 18 months of the trial scheme commencing and applications to establish new School Street schemes were being encouraged, alongside monitoring of the existing scheme to identify any improvements which could be made to help encourage an increase in levels of walking and cycling for children, parents and carers.

Councillor Page informed the Committee that he had spoken to Reading Friends of the Earth with GWR the previous week about Reading Green Park Station and one of the points that had been raised was about the mix of the buildings in the area that might change.  However, irrespective of the mix of buildings, Green Park would require a good rail service and good transport and cycling links.  With regard to Reading West Station, lifts could not be installed until the platforms had been made wide enough and the go ahead for the segregated cycle scheme for the Bath Road, which had been submitted to the DfT for funding through the third tranche of the Active Travel Fund, should have been received, but the Council was still waiting for an announcement on funding.

Resolved –   

(1)     That the progress made on the delivery of the current programme of strategic transport schemes as outlined in the report be noted;

(2)     That the additional funding of £2.25m secured from Great Western Railway and £2.015m from Network Rail, which would support the delivery of Reading Green Park Station and the Reading West Station Upgrade scheme be accepted and noted;

(3)     That the completion of the Funding Agreement with Great Western Railway for the Reading West Station Upgrade scheme be noted.

Supporting documents: