CYCLISTS and motorists have already reacted strongly to plans to replace a level crossing with a bridge, a day after the application went live.

Yesterday (October 17) Wokingham Borough Council opened a consultation into the second phase of the South Wokingham Distributor Road (SWDR), known as the Eastern Gateway, following a public exhibition in the summer.

The proposed route runs south from the new Montague Park housing development at William Heelas Way to Waterloo Road via a new bridge over the Waterloo to Reading railway line.

Once the new bridge is open, the current Waterloo Road level crossing would close and all traffic including cyclists and pedestrians would use that and the new road.

“This is a milestone application for development of much needed housing and infrastructure improvements," said Councillor David Lee, deputy leader and executive member for strategic highways and planning.

“Residents and businesses have been heavily involved from the start with their valued feedback helping to shape the plans. We want this to continue and would encourage people to get involved again to see the exact details and have their say about the plans.

“The SWDR is being designed primarily to ease existing traffic problems for residents living in nearby roads as well as carry vehicles from the new homes being built.”

In one day six residents have followed Cllr Lee's suggestion.

Cathy O'Neill was concerned the build would put cyclists' safety at risk.

She said: " It would make good road safety sense to build a bridge over the crossing similar to the one between Amen Corner and Jennets park.

"There are many more cyclists now and Wokingham council should be making it safer not more risky for them."

Joy Cox, of Waterloo Road, also expressed concerns but from a motorist and pedestrian's perspective.

She said: "At the moment queuing traffic numbers at peak morning and evening times, as well as queues for lengthy delays caused by the Star Lane crossing, are already unacceptable for residents and road users alike.

"Cycle traffic has increased significantly with many cyclists routinely using the paths and pavements; this in turn endangers pedestrians and residents attempting to exit driveways.

"The increased level of queuing traffic must also surely increase air pollution."

The SWDR is being designed to serve the new 2,500 homes in the South Wokingham Strategic Development Location.

Some 130 people attended the Eastern Gateway exhibition at Montague Park Primary School in June and July this year.

The planning application can be viewed at the council’s Shute End offices, or on its planning portal at by entering reference number 172934.