DEMOLITION work began this weekend on the railway bridge at Dauntsey Lock, as Network Rail paves the way for the electrification of the line.

The bridge on the B4069 at Dauntsey Lock has been closed for two months already for an upgrade as part of the firm’s £45m electrification of the Great Western railway line, and it has caused residents in Lyneham and Royal Wootton Bassett some disruption.

Demolition took place on Sunday morning, with reconstruction work taking place yesterday, and Network Rail confirmed it was on schedule to reopen in August.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We needed to demolish the central span of the road bridge and install new precast concrete portal units and parapets.

“The demolition works will be carried out from track level with plant accessing from the north east compound and will be carried out by demolition spec excavators.

“The reconstruction will consist of the installation of eight precast concrete units. These will be lifted into place using a 500-tonne crane located in the south west compound.

“In advance of these works we will be completing pre-demolition saw cuts to the brickwork along the limits of the demolition. Electrifying the Great Western will improve one of Britain’s busiest and oldest railways, better connecting major towns and cities across southern England and South Wales. It will make journeys more comfortable for passengers as well as quieter for people living near the railway, providing more seats, reducing costs and stimulating economic growth in the region.

“We apologise for any inconvenience these essential works may cause.”

There have been calls from residents and local businesses for compensation over the closure and North Wiltshire MP James Gray raised it with Transport Minister Stephen Hammond.

He said: “I pressed the minister on particular areas of concern. First, where possible, closures and diversions which are necessary to raise the bridges must be done in such a way as to minimise disruption to local people.

“I did raise with the minister the question of whether or not local small businesses who may be badly affected by these temporary closures might be eligible for compensation. He undertook to discuss that with Network Rail although he was not at all optimistic that any such compensation was available given the very large number of bridges which they are going to have to close between London and Exeter.”