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New footbridge in Stroud will make crossing safer

Network Rail is improving safety for pedestrians in Stroud by installing a new railway footbridge to replace two footpath crossings at Beards Lane and Downfield Road.

The new footbridge coincides with the project to re-instate the double track between Swindon and Kemble and install additional signals between Kemble and Standish, which will increase capacity on this busy route.

This increased capacity is required to allow for predicted growth along this route over the next 30 years and will give Network Rail a better diversionary route for trains to and from Wales.

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail’s Western route managing director, said: “Safety is our number one priority. The upgrade of the line from Swindon to Standish, which is due to complete at Easter 2014, means the railway will be able to carry more trains in future as we build a bigger, better railway to support the region’s economy. It’s right that as the number of trains using the line increases, we do everything we can to reduce the risk associated with level crossings.

“The safest solution for local people, including the large numbers of students from nearby schools and colleges, is to close the existing crossings and install a new ramped footbridge at Beards Lane providing a safe and accessible route across the railway.”

The work is taking place following consultation with the local community, Gloucestershire County Council, Gloucestershire Highways and Stroud District County Council. Foundation work on the new bridge is due to start in July for a period of six weeks and then work will recommence in October with the bridge due to open in February 2014.

Cllr Vernon Smith, Gloucester Council cabinet member for highways, said: “Pedestrian, especially child, safety whilst crossing the railway is essential. We are pleased the agencies have been working closely together on this scheme to produce the best possible solution for the area. It is good news that Network Rail will also be upgrading and improving a public footpath that runs between Downfield Road and Beards Lane.”

Network Rail is currently investing £130m to improve safety at level crossing across Britain. More than 700 crossings have been closed since 2008 and the company is on target to close 750 by spring 2014.

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