M4 bridge beams a significant milestone for Shinfield Eastern Relief Road
Release Date 10 December 2015
The beams for a new six lane bridge over the M4 were lifted into place last week as part of the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road project.
The six pairs of 45 metre long steel beams will form the main span of the new bridge, which will link the Black Boy Roundabout with the new 1.8km Shinfield Eastern Relief Road.
The Relief Road is being developed by the University of Reading, funded by a £25m loan from the Homes and Communities Agency. It supports Wokingham Borough Council's vision for major development around Shinfield, Spencers Wood and Three Mile Cross (known collectively as the South of M4 Strategic Development Location - SDL). This development area will bring 10,000 new homes to the Wokingham Borough.
Running over the M4 between junctions 10 and 11, the Relief Road will provide access to the development site located to the west of Shinfield, which will see 1,350 new homes built across the 100 acre site. This will include 150 specialist homes (for older residents, sheltered housing and other specialist housing), a new primary school, public open space and a new village centre, which will include a supermarket, shops and a community centre.
The Relief Road will also provide access to the University's Thames Valley Science Park, which will eventually provide 800,000 square foot of flexible laboratory and office space for innovative science and technology-based companies. Plans for the first phase were approved earlier this year and it is expected it will open in spring 2017.
Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "The Shinfield Eastern Relief Road is an important part of the University's plans to help boost the local and regional economy. The recent sale of the Shinfield West site will provide much-needed housing in Shinfield, as well as a new school and community centre. Our new Thames Valley Science Park will bring innovative companies to the area, with the potential to create up to 5,000 new jobs.
"We've reached a significant milestone in the project with the beams for the bridge being lifted into place. We can now look forward to next year when the bridge will be fully operational and bringing significant benefits to the Reading area."
Cllr John Kaiser, executive member for planning and highways at Wokingham Borough Council, said: "This bridge is a crucial part of our plans to improve traffic conditions in this part of the borough as well as serve the thousands of new families and businesses due to move in during the next few years.
"We're building for the future here and now, and creating the vital infrastructure needed to ensure Wokingham Borough remains a good place to live and do business."
Peter Jones, Head of Area for the Homes and Communities Agency, said: "This is great news for Wokingham Borough. By funding a better road network, we can make sure the area's growth plans are fully realised. Once the infrastructure is in place, a new community can be built in West Shinfield to house thousands of local families, and the Science Park will be an important step closer to reality."
The Shinfield Eastern Relief Road is being constructed by HOCHTIEF (UK) Construction on behalf of the University of Reading. Completion is scheduled for late summer 2016, with the bridge expected to open to traffic in early summer.