Connecting Oxfordshire takes a step closer to reality on A40 corridor
Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet is to be asked to agree the latest scheme in a package of improvement works totalling more than £100m of investment in the A40 – a key component of the council’s Connecting Oxfordshire plans.
The new £38m scheme, will provide a number of improvements including: a bus lane, a new park and ride at Eynsham, junction improvements at Eynsham and Cassington, as well as a bus priority scheme at the Swinford Tollbridge in Eynsham.
The vast majority of this work will be paid for through Local Growth Fund grant money from central Government with developer contributions making up the rest of the available finance.
Detailed elements of the project are as follows:
- An eastbound bus lane between Eynsham roundabout and the Duke’s Cut, Wolvercote
- A westbound priority bus lane on the approaches to Cassington traffic signals and Eynsham roundabout.
- A park and ride facility adjacent to the A40 in Eynsham
- Junction improvements on the A40 corridor including those at Witney, Eynsham and Cassington
- A bus priority scheme on the approach to Swinford Toll Bridge.
Other work to improve the A40
This scheme is the latest investment in a wider package (totalling more than £100m in funding) of improvement work along the length of the A40 (within Oxfordshire).
Other work linked to improving the A40 that has been completed, due to begin underway, or in development includes the following:
· Access to Carterton (improvements to the B4477 and western facing slips on the A40 at Minster Lovell)
· New Downs Road at grade roundabout on the A40 (in Witney)
· Western facing slips at Shore’s Green junction (Witney)
· A new Strategic Link road joining the A40 to the A44 (just west of the Wolvercote roundabout)
· Northern Gateway Access Road and associated bus priority improvements along the A40 corridor between Wolvercote viaduct and Wolvercote roundabout.
· Wolvercote Roundabout improvements
· Cutteslowe Roundabout improvements
· ‘Access to Headington’ programmed improvements
· Green Road Roundabout bus priority measures (completed March 2015)
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, the leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “When we launched Connecting Oxfordshire in 2014 one of the key areas of debate was how to tackle the issues we have with the A40 corridor.
“Since then we’ve secured an important chunk of central Government funding towards making things happen and it is exciting now to see the day when that work can begin drawing a step closer.
“New bus lanes and a park and ride will make a significant difference and I am greatly looking forward to seeing work start and even more so to the day when users of the A40 can reap the benefits of these changes.
Councillor Hudspeth added: “The message of Connecting Oxfordshire was acknowledging that our roads are operating close to or at capacity and that we had to act now to prepare for new homes, businesses and jobs coming to our county in future years.
“We’ve delivered a great deal already. There’s more to come soon with work at Wolvercote and Cutteslowe and then there’s the exciting A40 work itself which cabinet will discuss on July 21.
“This is history in the making for transport in Oxfordshire and I know that the people of the county will be glad to see these improvements being planned for and delivered.”
Thinking to the next big investment package for the A40
The council’s cabinet will also be asked to give the green light a public consultation, to take place this autumn, to debate the options for a longer term solution for the A40.
The current package of infrastructure investment unpicks a number of existing issues along the A40 corridor and is an important initial phase to set the stage for a much larger undertaking to tackle congestion.
Oxfordshire County Council has had a number of options assessed around how this next phase of A40 improvements could be taken forward.
These options include reinstatement of the railway from Witney to Yarnton or light rail on the same route, bus lanes from Witney to Wolvercote or dualling the A40 route through Oxfordshire.
The public consultation is an opportunity for people to comment on the approach the future A40 strategy will take.
Cllr Ian Hudspeth would like to see the Connecting Oxfordshire conversation continue to shape future investment.
He said: “While the current package of investment and improvement work will provide some congestion relief, this is only the beginning.
“The ‘solutions’ to the A40 will require ambition and creativity. In the longer term we want to make yet more improvements and we want to hear from local people once more about what form that should take.
“Should we seek to bring back West Oxfordshire’s link to the national rail network? Ought we to be considering light rail? Would bus lanes be the best solution? Or would dualling the entire route be the favoured option of local people?
“We want to know what you think.”