Backhill Tunnel scheme to start in the summer

The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership is providing £1.4m of Growing Places Fund money to create the sustainable transport link between the strategic employment areas of Milton Park and the major existing and future residential areas of Didcot.

The new facilities will go through the Backhill Tunnel – a route that has been closed for many years to the general public.

As well as opening up the tunnel the funding will also contribute towards improvements on the A4130 including a new crossing.

Oxfordshire County Council intends to begin on the scheme in the Summer with work expected to take around four months.

The work will include:

  • building a foot and cycle path from Milton Park to north side of A4130
  • lighting and CCTV installation in tunnel
  • improved fencing preventing access to rail line.

County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “This is really good news for anyone who lives or works in the area as it will provide convenient, attractive and direct pedestrian and cycle dedicated access to Milton Park from the western side of Didcot.

“Science Vale is a world class centre for science and innovation, and transport accessibility is well known to be a key to enabling business activity and attracting new investment.

"Major growth is planned across the area with 16,000 additional homes and 20,000 jobs by 2031. 8,500 of these jobs will be provided at Harwell Oxford and Milton Park as part of the Enterprise Zone.

“The final product will encourage greater use of sustainable transport, helping to reduce the number of vehicles on our road network and improve the health of our population.  The scheme will play a part in encouraging economic development in the area.”