A plan to link together fast-growing technology hotspots Oxford and Cambridge has moved forward.
After detailed scrutiny and review by Highways England, of the three options A, B and C, Corridor B was judged to offer greater benefits to the region – outperforming the other options by providing better links to jobs, education, leisure and health services.
The expressway, with options to pass either west or east of Oxford, is also expected to take up to 40 minutes off the journey between the A34 south of Oxford and the M1.
Building the new link close to the east/west rail link will also offer more options for the commercial development of up to one million new homes, in line with proposals by the National Infrastructure Commission, and encourage more people to travel by train rather than by cars.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “The government is taking the big decisions on infrastructure, working to maximise growth and productivity across the UK.
“England’s economic heartland, as it has been called, already plays a crucial role in powering the UK’s growth, science and innovation, but there is no single route to connect Oxford and Cambridge.
This expressway will enhance both transport connectivity and growth across the region for the benefit of the UK as a whole.”
The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, said: “The Oxford to Cambridge arc is one of the greatest opportunities for economic growth in Europe. We want to realise that potential by investing in the new infrastructure the area needs and the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway is an important part of our plan.
“The Expressway will provide a link between two of the country’s intellectual powerhouses and open up vital jobs, skills and housing opportunities to transform the region’s economy.
“We are investing record amounts in the UK’s infrastructure, including funding the largest road-building programme since the 1970s.
“A full public consultation will be held next year, in which residents and businesses in and around the corridor will have their say on more detailed designs for the route.”