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Shinfield Eastern Relief Road

Client: University of Reading

Contractors Designers: Ramboll (obo HOCHTIEF)

Form of Contract: NEC Option A, Design and Build

Dates work carried out: 2014 - 2016

Value: £15,000,000

The Shinfield Eastern Relief Road will be a single carriageway, 7.3m wide, road running eastwards in an arc from a new bridge over the M4. It will pass to the north of a small reservoir to a new roundabout allowing access to the future Reading University Science and Innovation Park (SIP). From the SIP roundabout the relief road will continue southwards crossing Cutbush Lane, to a new roundabout junction with the A327 Arborfield Road, east of Parrot Farm.

The new bridge over the M4 will have a span of approximately 45m and a width of approximately 33m, carrying six traffic lanes. The bridge will link the Black Boy junction to the north of the M4 with a new three arm signal-controlled junction to the south. The existing A327 Black Boy Bridge shall be closed to southbound vehicles to allow its use by pedestrians, cyclists and northbound buses.

The northern section of the relief road will be on a slight embankment lifting the road by approximately 1m above the existing ground level to link to the M4 bridge. As the road arcs to the east it will be in a cutting past the reservoir. South of the SIP roundabout the road will be at grade with the existing ground level and then slightly below this as it approaches Cutbush Lane. Some 600m of southern section of the road, which falls within the River Loddon floodplain, will be raised by around 2.2m above existing ground levels. The roundabout with the A327 Arborfield Road will be raised by between 0.5m and 1m above the existing levels and the area to the east and west of the new roundabout will be re-profiled to suit.

The majority of trees and hedges within the site will be retained and substantial planting is proposed along the entire route, with around 5000 new trees, plants and shrubs being provided. Badger proof fencing is to be provided along both sides of the relief road with a series of badger tunnels located at strategic points beneath the road. Within the southern section of the road a bat ‘fly-over’ is proposed to encourage bats to cross the road at a high level thus avoiding collisions with vehicles.

Drainage for the scheme will generally be in the form of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) and will be incorporated in the form of swales positioned to either side of the road carriageway. This will enable surface water to infiltrate into the ground and allow the transporting of water to surrounding drainage infrastructure in the case of heavy rainfall.

The majority of the existing outbuildings at Lane End Farmhouse will be demolished to construct the new Lane End junction. Minor modifications will be made to a Grade II listed building and boundary wall to enable them to remain in-situ.