WOKINGHAM borough is set to see millions of pounds of investment on its roads and transport services.

This comes after the scrapping of the highly controversial MRT (mass rapid transit) scheme between Reading and Wokingham freed up more than £19 million to be spent on highways improvements across Berkshire.

Now a new bridge in Barkham could be built as the Berkshire Local Transport Body (BTLB) decided to allocate almost £4.3 million towards a scheme that would help ease congestion in the area, with a withdrawn application for an MRT scheme in Slough meaning Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) gets the extra funding instead.

The existing Barkham bridge would be joined by a new one next to it, which would facilitate two-way traffic through the current bottleneck.

Structurally, the existing bridge is only wide enough to support single-lane traffic and operates via a give-way system, which causes queues and delays.

Councillor Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways and transport at WBC, said: “We are pleased to have been awarded funding of £4 million from TVB LEP (Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership) that has also been allocated towards our Major Roads Project for Barkham Bridge, which is subject to a business case.

“This project will also assist us in our aim to get the borough moving by reducing congestion as we look to remove this pinchpoint on the network and widen this bridge to enable two way traffic over it in future”.

Early preparation work for the scheme has already been completed and now that funding has been agreed, a start on the work could be achieved by summer 2019, with a possible opening date of 2021.

According to WBC’s website, these improvements are “needed in order to support major new developments in Wokingham borough, in particular the Arborfield Garrison major development”.

It had previously been agreed that a £4.7 million chunk of the £19 million would be spent on the Coppid Beech park and ride and the Coppid Beech northbound on-slip widening, money which will be received in addition to the funding for Barkham bridge.

The council has also heard news that financial approval for its Winnersh Triangle park and ride scheme has been approved, which will see the transport links at the site redeveloped so 250 additional car parking spaces are added.

This means more than £2.8 million will come WBC’s way, with £250,000 allocated for the project this year and £2.6 million allocated in 2020/2021.

A further half-a-million pound will be contributed by developers to aid the scheme.

It is anticipated the site will be open to the public by September 2020.

Cllr Jorgensen added: “I am delighted that we are receiving £3 million of funding from the TVB LEP towards our Winnersh Triangle Park and Ride site. This funding will enable us to increase the capacity of the car park and improve the station to make it easier for our residents to travel not only around the borough but also commute to and from work.”