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Published on : Friday, December 2, 2016
The A71 will close for 16 weeks from January 5 next year while Network Rail engineers demolish and replace the road bridge next to West Calder station.The bridge project is part of wider work on the Shotts line ahead of the electrification of the route by 2019 as part of a Scottish Government investment which is being delivered by Network Rail.
The demolition and initial steps to reconstruct the road bridge over the railway will see an intensive period of work throughout January to hit the 16 week programme – made all the more challenging by the unpredictability of the winter weather.
To enable the community to find out more about this project, we are holding community drop in events where people can come along and speak directly to the project team and ask any questions about the work.
4-7pm Wednesday, December 14
Polbeth Village Hall,
Polbeth Road, Polbeth EH55 8SR
4-7pm Thursday, December 15
West Calder Community Centre,
Dickson Street, West Calder EH 55 8DZ
As well as work to demolish and reconstruct the bridge and clear space for the electrification of the railway underneath the work programme also involves extensive mining remediation under the bridge abutments of the rebuilt structure.
Iain McFarlane, Network Rail’s head of programme management for the Shotts Line Electrification, said: “We know the A71 is a critical link in the West Lothian road network, and we do not take the decision to request its closure lightly.
“We understand the impact that this potentially will have for both road users and those communities adjacent to the proposed diversion route. However, this is the best way to minimise the overall disruption that this unavoidable work will have on the community.
“Delivering this work in just 16 weeks is a huge logistical challenge, but we have planned carefully with our contractors BAM Nuttall and have every confidence in the project team’s ability to complete this work with the minimum possible inconvenience.”
Network Rail has worked with West Lothian Council to put in place an appropriate ‘all vehicle’ diversion and has undertaken work at a number of locations to enhance roads in the area ahead of the increased volumes of traffic expected during the A71 closure.
In addition to the diversion route, other safety measures such as speed limits, parking restrictions and temporary traffic lights have been introduced to help to maintain the flow of traffic from the diverted A71 route.