READING Bridge has reopened weeks earlier than expected after being closed for essential upgrades.

Due to be closed for six weeks, the bridge was shut three weeks ago in order for gas company SGN to carry out works which they said will ensure the town receives a "continued and reliable gas supply for many years to come."

The early reopening of the bridge means that both northbound and southbound cycle lanes have now been reinstated and are fully operational.

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The closure had been causing chaos for nearby residents and those travelling in the town, with one Emmer Green resident describing the resulting traffic as "madness".

Last week, he said: "The traffic from all the surrounding areas is unworkable - it is madness.

"The traffic is coming from all over - people from Henley and Sonning Common who would normally use the bridge but aren't able to means the occupants of Emmer Green, Caversham heights and surrounding areas have to wait in excess of 25 minutes within their vehicles after being jammed up."

Despite Reading Borough Council initially estimating that the bridge would be shut for six weeks though, it was reopened on Monday (July 20) - three weeks early.

With Reading Bridge reopening ahead of schedule, it means that the introduction of the previously announced new temporary one way systems along Gosbrook Road (Westfield Road to Prospect Street), and Westfield Road (Henley Road junction to Gosbrook Road), to increase capacity for walking and cycling can go live next week.

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A new one way system at Sidmouth Street – with the introduction of a segregated new two-way cycle lane – is expected to become operational by the end of July.