Oxfordshire is to get a £102 million funding boost for the A40.
The Government has confirmed the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) money is to be invested in major improvements to the key route.
The announcement means that the county council can deliver:
- An extension of the A40 dual carriageway from Witney to the proposed Eynsham park and ride, including improving cycling facilities along the route.
- An extension of the A40 westbound bus lane from west of Duke’s Cut Canal and railway bridges close Oxford near to the proposed Eynsham park and ride.
- A40 capacity and connectivity improvements to widen access at Duke’s Cut Canal and railway bridges, extending the eastbound and westbound bus priority lane, prioritising bus rapid transit at this pinch point.
The county council will develop a single preferred option so that preliminary design can begin for each of the three elements of the scheme.
The overall scheme aims at creating substantial benefits for existing and future users of the A40.
This main artery is a single carriageway road and – on the section between Witney and Oxford – up to 32,000 vehicles currently use it each day.
Congestion causes daily problems for road users and has been described by business leaders as one of the biggest barriers to economic growth and prosperity in West Oxfordshire.
All modes of transport are affected by congestion, which encourages traffic to seek other routes. Bus services are suffering from increasing journey times and are unable to reliably run to timetable. Demand for travel and transport will only increase over time.
The proposals seek to increase A40 capacity for all users of the route between Witney and Eynsham, while providing a high-quality, congestion-free public transport, cycling and walking for travel between Eynsham and Oxford. Users will also benefit from interchange at the planned Eynsham Park & Ride, allowing them to use a bus to and from the site, part of the A40 Science Transit 2 Scheme.
Yvonne Rees, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “This is fantastic news and I am really pleased that the needs of our residents and the people who use this vital route have been recognised.
“I would like to thank everyone who have worked so hard on this successful bid. It shows how working together in partnership can really get results for our communities and that together we really can achieve so much and provide what people have been asking for.”
Giles Hughes, Head of Paid Service at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “This bid will help ease the daily misery commuters have to endure on the A40 every day and will bring major benefits to the district’s economy in terms of attracting businesses and tourists to the area.”
Chris Coleman, Managing Director for Stagecoach in Oxford added: “We strongly supported the HIF bid submitted by Oxfordshire County Council and believe that this second phase of improvements to the A40 west of Eynsham and around Dukes Cut is necessary to secure the full benefits arising from the initial bus lanes scheme east of Eynsham.
“Together, these will transform journey times and reliability for the thousands of customers using our services each week between West Oxfordshire and the City. This scheme creates a comprehensive solution necessary to deliver an attractive public transport offer on the A40 that is essential to serve the needs of planned residential and employment sites in the future.”