Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin has met the April 3rd deadline to grant the Development Consent Order to allow Network Rail and its delivery agents the Staffordshire Alliance to construct a new rail flyover near Norton Bridge.
Unrelated to HS2, the upgrade is part of Network Rail’s £250m Stafford Area Improvements Programme, to be delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance, a partnership of Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail.
The supporting infrastructure includes six new miles of railway plus ten new bridges, one bridge enhancement, four river diversions, and pipeline, road and footpath diversions. The project includes environmental mitigation works to protect great crested newts, barn owls and otters.
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 will remove a major pinch point and allow faster, more frequent and reliable passenger and freight services.”
The remodelled junction will create the capacity to run two extra trains per hour (each direction) between London and the north west of England, one extra fast train per hour (each direction) between Manchester and Birmingham and one extra freight train per hour (each direction) through Stafford.
“Our key focus now is to deliver these works efficiently and effectively and minimise the impact they will have on the local community,”
Ian Jones continued.
Strip markers have already been laid out on fields around Norton Bridge to denote hedgerows, new and existing service routes (including pipelines and other utilities) and land boundary lines, Nigel Barber of Network Rail explained to the Gazette.
Work on the flyover is due to start in spring 2014 and be completed in summer 2016.
For further information contact Network Rail’s national helpline on 08457 114 141; email: CRNW@networkrail.co.uk; or visit www.networkrail.co.uk/StaffordImprovements