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Flyover to boost capacity on one of Europe’s busiest rail routes

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Plans for a new railway flyover which will help provide increased capacity and improved reliability on the Stafford to Crewe section of the busy West Coast Main Line have been given the go-ahead.

Network Rail's plans for the flyover at Norton Bridge (north of Stafford) will see six miles of new 100mph railway constructed as well as 10 new bridge structures and one bridge enhancement, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works and pipeline, road and footpath diversions.

The upgrade is part of the £250m Stafford Area Improvements Programme, delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance, a partnership of VolkerRail, Atkins, Laing O'Rourke and Network Rail, working as part of a new collaborative contract that will help to transform the delivery of rail infrastructure projects in the UK, which will provide a significant boost to journeys made by millions of passengers who use the West Coast main line every month.

Ian Jones, head of the Staffordshire Alliance, said: "With the West Coast main line set to reach capacity in just five years time, the flyover at Norton Bridge is one of the last improvements which can be made on the route which will help to provide a better service for passengers. It will remove a major pinch point and allow faster, more frequent and reliable passenger and freight services. 

"Building on the recent completion of line speed improvements between Crewe and Norton Bridge, this has been a milestone month for the programme. Our key focus now is to deliver these works efficiently and effectively and minimise the impact they will have on the local community." 

As an infrastructure project of national significance, the Norton Bridge scheme was the subject of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application - a process preceded by comprehensive consultation dating back to 2010, with the views of stakeholders directly influencing the final scheme.

Following submission of the DCO application by Network Rail in December 2012, a six month examination period began in April 2013, with a recommendation made to the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP, who last week made a decision to grant the DCO application.

 The Norton Bridge project includes:

  • A new flyover, removing a key bottleneck at Norton Bridge Junction and segregating intercity, commuter and freight traffic
  • 10 new bridges and one bridge enhancement
  • A major realignment of the B5026 highway
  • Road, river and footpath diversions
  • Major environmental mitigations works to protect flora and fauna including great crested newts, barn owls and otters

 The Norton Bridge project team will be holding a public information event on Thursday 24 April between 4pm and 8pm at Chebsey Village Hall, School Lane, Chebsey, ST21 6JU. This is an opportunity for local people to find out more about the work and ask the team any questions.

Work on the flyover is due to start in spring 2014 and be completed in summer 2016.

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