Closure of A340 Aldermaston Wharf Railway bridge. 0900 Monday 12th March to Christmas 2012 (was Sunday 13th May)

As part of the rail electrification project the A340 rail bridge will be closed as above.

This is in addition to the Station Road and Sulhamstead Hill closures that are already in place.

A diversion route will be signed via the A4 and Frouds Lane, traffic lights will be used at either end of Frouds Lane to ease the traffic flow.

The only vehicular acces to the premises south of the railway line at Aldermston Wharf will be via the A340, Frouds Lane and A4. To ensure access across the canal bridge a
bridge engineer will be on site at all times the bridge is operational.

There will be two pedestrian routes across the railway line to the A4, Aldermaston Station footbridge and a temporary foot bridge to be built next tothe A340 bridge (Date this will be open not yet known)

By 13th May the new bridge will be in place on the A340 but only with temporary approach roads, the A340 will reopen so that Frouds Lane can be closed for reconstruction of thta bridge.

Finally when Frouds Lane is complete there will be a further closure of the A340 for reinstatement of the approach roads.

The works are being carried out by Carrillion on behalf of Network Rail and enquires should be addressed to the national rail Enquiry line on 0845 711 4141.

Bob Bosley
Senior Technician
Traffic and Road safety

01635 519229

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21 Responses to Closure of A340 Aldermaston Wharf Railway bridge. 0900 Monday 12th March to Christmas 2012 (was Sunday 13th May)

  1. Dean says:

    What a nightmare, traffic chaos last night and this morning. This can’t last for two months. How come they changed the bridge a Cows lane Reading in a weekend but take two months with this one.

  2. pbeckett says:

    And then there is the matter of emergency services access to the Wharf and Fallows. In the event of a fire or other emergency , especially in the rush hour (i.e all day) it could take forever for an ambulance or fire engine to reach us.

    How do people without their own transport, or the elderly who rely on the bus service cope with this 2 month isolation of our community.

    Surely this must have been considered by the “expert planners” of this fiasco? or then again…..

  3. David says:

    When are we going to be told that due to the unexpected collapse of the A340 bridge when the bridge deck was removed the A340 is unlikely to be reopened before Christmas?
    When is the replacement footbridge beside the demolished Station Road bridge going to be usable as it is a long walk via the station footbridge to the bus stop on the A4?

  4. David says:

    The answer to Dean’s query about how they managed to change the bridge in Cow Lane Reading in a weekend can be found by typing ‘Cow Lane bridge’ into an Internet browser (e.g. Google) and links to numerous videos will appear. Similarly typing in ‘Caversham Road bridge’ wiil produce links to the replacement of the much larger Caversham Road bridge deck. The common factor with both replacements is that they were all rail over road and not, as for the A340, road over rail.

  5. Paul says:

    Apparently, since starting the work NR have discovered that the original structure for the A340 bridge is not strong enough to take the new road so a new design is having to be drawn up. The result is that it may well be Christmas before the road is re-opened but until the design etc is finalised, NR can’t give an idea as to how long it will be closed. NR are apparently due to do a letter drop to houses in AW with an update in the near future.
    More info will be in the Padworth newsletter next month.

  6. Paul says:

    This additional lengthy closure is going to cause additional fuel costs to residents if it goes on for several months. Its just over 2.5 miles from my house to the A340 roundabout via the diversion, as opposed to a few hundred yards normally over the bridge, an additional round trip of 5 miles. A conservative cost assuming one round trip per day is 140 additional miles per month, which at current fuel prices for a standard 30 MPG car works out at £27 per month additional fuel. Using the AA standard of 45p per mile that’s a whopping £63 per month! And that’s just for private residents, goodness knows the impact on local business, e.g the newly renovated Butt Inn!

  7. Neil says:

    Anyone else noticed how bad the road surface is becoming in Frouds lane? Lorries are doing an excellent job of churning up the surface. I’m not looking forward to the inevitable ‘extra’ sets of traffic lights needed for the resurfacing work. With luck any work will be done at night, I shan’t hold my breath though.

  8. Paul says:

    The letter below is being circulated by Network Rail to residents at the Wharf.You will see they are anticipating the bridge closures could last until September.As a consequence of these extended delays, WBC are investigating what can be done to minimise the damage being caused to Frouds Lane

    Our Ref: BHL 45m 52ch

    30 April 2012 6th Floor Western House
    1 Holbrook Way
    SN1 1BD

    Tel: 08457 11 41 41

    Dear Resident

    A340 and Station Road Rail Bridge Replacements

    We wanted to write to you to provide an update on the replacement on the Bridges on the A340 and Station Road as part of the on-going Great Western Electrification works.

    As you may be aware, during the bridge removal works at the Easter weekend, we uncovered structural elements that were not in a suitable condition to support the proposed bridge solution. As a result these elements were removed and we are currently re-designing the replacement bridge structures.

    Unfortunately this will result in a delay to the works and it will not be possible to open the bridges on the dates originally planned. We are working hard to establish a full solution and to establish what the exact implications are on our works programme. We anticipate that, subject to approvals, the roads will be reopening mid September 2012 and we will communicate further information as soon as we are able to do so. In the mean time traffic will continue to be diverted via Frouds Lane and the temporary public transport service to the A4 stops will remain in place.

    We would like to apologise for this inconvenience and to thank you in advance for your patience. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact our 24 hour national helpline on 08457 11 41 41, or e-mail

    Yours sincerely

    Robin Basu
    Community Relations Manager – Western

  9. Paul says:

    Dear Resident,

    Frouds Lane Essential Maintenance.

    As a result of the recent announcement by Network Rail regarding the delay to the work on the A340 and Station Road bridges, I would like to make you aware of our intention to reinstate the weight restriction and undertake essential maintenance to Frouds Lane.

    Network Rail was due to complete the work by mid-May but have announced their work will not now be completed until mid-September, with both the bridges remaining closed until then.

    The extension to their work is going to prove problematic for drivers, and particularly haulage companies, because of its impact on Frouds Lane.

    The Lane is a key part of the diversion route, the 7.5 tonne weight restriction having being lifted temporarily for the benefit of hauliers. However, while that would have been sustainable with some repairs to this minor country road until mid-May, it is not sustainable until September. The carriageway is showing particular signs of wear along the edges and if left unchecked would have to be closed to all road users. Therefore the HGV weight restriction will be reinstated on 18 May. Diversion for HGVs will be through Burghfield and on to the A4 at Southcote.

    In the short term, Frouds Lane will unfortunately have to be closed on the weekends of 19/20 and 26/27 May to carry out some emergency repairs, so that it can continue as a diversion route for traffic other than HGVs. A signed diversion route will be in place for this closure. Faced with the continued closure of the bridges by Network Rail, West Berkshire Council is left with no choice but to carry out this essential safety work to Frouds Lane.

    If you would like any further information, please contact me on 01635 519087.

    Yours sincerely

    Jon Winstanley
    Projects Manager

  10. Robert says:

    This is a total shambles. The scale of the disruption being inflicted on everyone who uses the A4 and/or A340 is huge.
    Someone should be held accountable as there is no way this project has been managed properly.
    Network rail are just making up their timetable/work schedule as they go along. Who cares if a load of local residents and road user are inconvenienced? It’s not as if anyone will take any notice of their complaints and hold anyone to account, is it?

  11. Paul says:

    Having trapped us in the wharf for two weekends by closing Frouds lane, today Frouds Lane is open however all the traffic lights are stuck on red! Is it possible for the levels of total incompetence shown so far, to get any higher?

  12. Paul says:

    So I called Jon Winstanley,the Project Manager, on the number above, to complain about the traffic lights. I had to leave a voicemail – wonder if he will get back to me?

    • Paul says:

      John got back and apologised for the broken traffic lights and said they should be supervised at all times. He did however say that they rely on residents to alert them to problems.

  13. J H says:

    Has anyone made a claim for the extra petrol used yet?

  14. David says:


    I’m pleased to report that the traffic lights are now supervised but could the remit of the supervisors be extended to include photographing the numberplates of any HGV’s transgressing the Froud’s Lane ban e.g. I followed a truck towing a trailer carrying a large excavator along that road.

    I find the roadsign at the Hind’s Head explaining the Froud’s Lane ban very confusing and after they’ve passed it HGV’s have got nowhere to turn around. I suggest the sign should say at the Hind’s Head that there’s no access to the A4 for vehicles above 7.5T?

    David C

  15. David says:

    This weekend two massive cranes are installing the supports for the new bridges at both ends of Aldermaston station (A340 and Station Road.

    Does anyone know why the footbridge at Station Road is sealed off, preventing people getting to the bus stop which I thought was the purpose of the footbridge??

    • David says:

      With reference to my June 3 report on the two cranes at Aldermaston station well I looked again today at lunchtime and the crane at the Station Road end doesn’t appear to have done anything and appears ready to leave.

      The crane at the A340 end has left after starting/finishing? the bridge supports. Progress can be seen from the A340 footbridge.

      David C

  16. Mike says:

    Aside from the obvious trouble that is being caused at Aldermaston, I’d like to know why it seems that all the railway crossing between Theale and Aldermaston seem to be closed at the same time.

    As a resident of Tadley, I am fortunate (normally) to be be able to choose to avoid closures at Aldermaston by taking routes through Ufton Nervet or Sulhamstead thereby limiting demand for the hopelessly inadequate Frouds Lane diversion.

    Who sanctioned closing all the crossings at the same time. We hear that the Aldermaston Wharf closures will go on until late into 2012 but there is no mention as to when the other crossings will be reinstated.

    Any Project Manager worth his salt would have identified ‘inadequate bridge structure’ as a risk from the outset of the project and organised a subtask to prepare a new design (or copy one from any number of previous designs) such that as soon as the ‘Risk’ became an ‘Issue’, Plan B could be put into action immediately.

    I appreciate that it takes time to fabricate the alternative structure but not having the design pre-prepared is totally unnaceptable.

    As the saying goes ‘Failing to Plan, is Planning to Fail’ The PM has either not seen the risk, or accepted the risk with no strategy to deal with it.

    Furthermore, you shouldn’t have closed and dismantled both bridges simultaneously at Aldermaston Wharf. I would have started with one bridge, so that the other could have been kept open, until such time as both were needed to be closed, this would limit the impact on residetns and the Frouds Lane infrastructure.

  17. Wendy Merrifield says:

    We are facing a similar road closure near Salisbury which will effectively cut off our village from the city of Salisbury for three to four months. I own the local shop and Post Office and am extremely concerned about my business, as 50% or so is passing trade. Has anyone managed to get any compensation from Network Rail? Our insurers will not cover us as the business interruption is long term and not loss of earnings through “material damage”. I would appreciate any feedback on this as I can see my shop not being there in February.

  18. Paul says:

    Given the main bridge sections were erected many weeks ago now, I am struggling to understand what they are actually doing to complete the bridges and re-open the roads.

  19. Paul says:

    Network rail have now confirmed the bridges will not re-open until 13 SEPTEMBER 2012. If network rail had been involved in building anything for the Olympics, I imagine the games would have been delayed until 2013.

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