A361 improvements help people to glow on their way safely

People travelling on the A361 between Banbury and Chipping Norton are benefitting from new safety improvements, thanks to Oxfordshire County Council.

The road was previously classed as one of the 50 most dangerous A-road sections in the UK with the iRAP overall rating of 5, out of 5, stars.

In response the county council started work on the £4.135m A361 Safety Improvements Project with funding from the Department for Transport.

Work on a wide range of safety improvements were completed, at the end of May 2020, with the installation of a brand-new Toucan crossing, south of Ell’s Lane, and a glowing 2.5m-wide, 2000m long, shared use path. These facilities are now fully open for the public.

County Councillor, Liam Walker, Cabinet member for Highway Operation and Delivery said: “I am really happy that we have been able to deliver such an excellent list of safety improvements.

“We now have new facilities and features that not only make things more convenient but, far more importantly, will help to save lives.

“Everyone has worked hard, including council staff and contractors, to get the work completed. Towards the end it has been particularly challenging for the site team.

“The local councillors, communities, road users, schools and businesses have been very patient while the work was being done.”

Bright idea for safer travel

New lower speed limits, improved signing and lining as well as resurfaced stretches of road have been joined by some new high-tech innovations.

For the first time in Oxfordshire revolutionary photo-luminescent technology, known as i-glo discs, has been used which glow brightly throughout the night and use natural light to recharge during the day.

These new discs can glow for up to 10 hours, acting as path finder at night without the need for additional street lighting, saving revenue and reducing carbon emissions, allowing cyclists and pedestrians to feel safer.

Flexitact with glowing edges have also been installed at all crossing locations, between Crouch Cottages and Ell’s Lane, to encourage independence and aid the visually impaired during the day and night.

The full list of work completed is:

  1. Carriageway resurfacing - to improve skid resistance
  2. Surface water drainage improvements - to prevent overflowing
  3. Footway improvements including conversion to a shared use pedestrians/cycleway - to allow safe off-road cycling
  4. Vegetation clearance - to improve visibility, especially at bends
  5. Conversion of an existing Pelican crossing to Toucan - to allow safe connection between Ell’s Lane and Warriner School
  6. Reduction in speed limits from 50mph to 40mph between Banbury and Wykham Lane and from 60mph to 50pmh in southern sections.
  7. Road markings and signage improvements, including yellow backed and raised signs for better visibility, and introduction of road studs on all bends to better guide motorists at night.

The newly finished project is part of the European Road Assessment Programme (EuroRAP), and the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP), dedicating to saving lives through safer roads. The A361 project was funded by Department for Transport, in collaboration with the Road Safety Foundation (RSF), a charity focused on leading the establishment of the EuroRAP and iRAP in the UK.

Following completion of the project the RSF will re-evaluate the overall star rating of this section.

More before and after photos can be found on the A361 webpage below: