According to Network Rail, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has approved the final phase of a £250m Stafford Area Improvements Programme.
The planned flyover at Norton Bridge, which will help increase capacity and improve reliability on the line, incorporates the construction of a new 100mph railway with a total length of 9.6 km as well as 10 new bridge structures, one bridge enhancement, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works and pipeline, road and footpath diversions.
The works are part of the £250m Stafford Area Improvements Programme, which will be delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance, a partnership of Atkins, Laing O'Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail.
As a result of the upgrade, a significant boost to journeys will be made for millions of commuters who use the WCML on a monthly basis.
Ian Jones, head of the Staffordshire Alliance, said: “With the WCML set to reach capacity in just five years time, the flyover at Norton Bridge is one of the last improvements which can be made on the route which will help to provide a better service for passengers.
“Building on the recent completion of line speed improvements between Crewe and Norton Bridge, this has been a milestone month for the programme. Our key focus now is to deliver these works efficiently and effectively and minimise the impact they will have on the local community.”
Work on the flyover is due to start in spring 2014 and be completed in summer 2016.
Due to the project’s national significance, a Development Consent Order application had to be submitted for the Norton Bridge scheme.
Following submission of the DCO application by Network Rail in December 2012, a six-month examination period began in April 2013, with a recommendation made to the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin, who recently approved the DCO application.
Network Rail has already done a few upgrades to the railway: installed new signals to speed up journeys between Norton Bridge and Crewe and provided a new area for freight trains at Stafford.
The firm estimates the new flyover to allow two extra trains per hour in each direction between London and the north west of England and one extra fast train per hour between between Manchester and Birmingham.
Photo Source: BBC