An innovative and near maintenance-free footbridge has been installed in Bicester to make crossing the railway safer for pedestrians and cyclists in future.
Made from super-strong fibre-reinforced plastic, the new footbridge replaces Jarvis Lane footpath level crossing.
It’s the first new footbridge to be opened as part of the East West Rail project – which when completed will connect Bicester to Bletchley and Milton Keynes for the first time in 50 years.
The weatherproof material has never been used by Network Rail for footbridge construction before and it will need much less future maintenance than conventional materials steel or concrete.
Mark Cuzner, East West Rail Alliance project director, said: “Building a new railway is extremely exciting and it’s only right that East West Rail uses the latest materials and technology to get the job done.
“Most importantly, replacing Jarvis Lane level crossing with this new footbridge will make crossing the tracks safer for cyclists and pedestrians now, as well as saving money on costly maintenance in the future. The opening of this footbridge also reinstates the public right of way over the railway benefitting both local people and businesses in the town."
The paths leading to the footbridge have been resurfaced and new footpath signs have been installed.
The bridge also features steel channels at the side of the staircases so bicycles can be walked across instead of carried.
The new footbridge means the pedestrian level crossing at Jarvis Lane is now closed.
This is part of Network Rail’s plans to eliminate safety risks by removing level crossings where possible to create a safer railway for the future.