COMMUTERS have hit out at Network Rail after radical plans to make a key route one-way only for seven months were revealed.

The southbound stretch of Cow Lane will be off limits from December 11 until July 2018 to allow the rail provider and Reading Borough Council to ease congestion in the future.

Although the upgrades could see two-way traffic, access for cyclists and double-decker buses in the future, the plans have proven unpopular with motorists, who believe the town will be 'gridlocked'.

James Pratt told the Chronicle: "The people of the town are not happy with the plan to make the road one way - these are people who have to go about their everyday life and will have months and months of misery and hours or days of wasted time due to the proposed plan.

"Closing the road one way can't count as an improvement to magically make a traffic jam disappear. The traffic has to find another route.

"I would imagine that come December 11, Reading will be gridlocked, as the traffic trying to get through the already busy routes from the diversions will struggle."

Realignment works at the start of November handed drivers nightmare journeys and long queues.

When the scheme is complete, it will mean double-decker buses will be able to cross Cow Lane for the first time, speeding up journey times for passengers.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The upgrade to Cow Lane bridge, once complete, will dramatically reduce traffic congestion as it will be big enough to allow vehicles to safely pass in each direction, as well as allowing the future use of double-deck buses for the first time ever.

“The upgrade will improve traffic flow for many years to come and improve the safety of the railway as visibility when passing under the bridge will be improved.

"However, disruption is expected as the improvement works are being delivered but there are significant long-term benefits.”