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PEDESTRIAN and cyclist groups say they are delighted with plans to replace the Botley Road railway bridge in 2017.

As a part of a multi-million pound scheme, the bridge will be widened for more railway lines while the road underneath is to be widened, given cycle lanes and larger pavements.

Oxford Pedestrians’ Association secretary Corinne Grimley Evans said the group was “all for it”.

She said: “I would be delighted if that came to pass. That section of road is a horror at the moment, for both pedestrians and cyclists.

“As the road narrows cyclists have nowhere to go except into vehicles and pedestrians are worried about hitting the cyclists.

“These changes will mean more people cycling and walking and that is what we need.”

Cycle lanes were first added to Botley Road in 1998.

But at present only cyclists leaving the city, going under the bridge, have a dedicated but narrow bike lane.

Those riding into the city have to merge with traffic.

City councillor for Osney Susanna Pressel said the change was “wonderful news”.

She said: “Ever since I first became councillor 18 years ago, this has been the one thing people here have been clammering for.

“This bridge has put people off cycling, particularly if they have young children, and that has caused more of them to drive.

“It’s been very difficult to persuade Network Rail in the past to do this work because it is so expensive to stop the trains.

“But this will make a huge difference to everybody, so I’m delighted.”

Oxford cyclists group Cyclox said the scheme could double the number of cyclists in the city’s west side.

Vice chairman Richard Mann said it had been a “number one issue” for residents.

He said: “Having to negotiate your way through danger is not something you should be faced with just cycling across Oxford.”

The work on the bridge is expected to happen after the 12-month redesign of Frideswide Square, due to begin in the autumn, Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth said.

That will see both ends of the square, at the top of the Botley Road, fitted with two roundabouts, instead of a traffic lightcontrolled junctions at a cost of £5.5m.