Decision taken on long-term strategy for A40 | Oxfordshire County Council
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Decision taken on long-term strategy for A40

Published 24 May 2016

A landmark decision to take decisive action to solve transport problems on the A40 between Witney and Oxford has been made by Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet.

Councillors today discussed and agreed to pursue a long-term strategy which will focus on new dual carriageway from Witney to the a new Park and Ride at Eynsham as well as further bus priority lanes connecting the Eynsham Park and Ride toward Oxford.

Council transport planners will now draw up more detailed plans which, it is hoped, will help to secure more than £50m in government funding to make the proposals a reality.

Already working on transport improvements
Today’s decision represents the next big step towards a long-term solution to the situation which has been described by the Prime Minister as “a foot on the windpipe of West Oxfordshire’s economy”.

Oxfordshire County Council is already currently designing and delivering a project costing approximately £40m which will see a new Park and Ride built at Eynsham and a new eastbound bus lane from this park and ride toward Oxford funded through the Local Growth Fund.

But, while these measures will provide improvements they have always been seen as just a part of the solution.

Last year the county council held a Connecting Oxfordshire public consultation to seek views on which of several concepts would be the best one to focus on as an approach. The results of the consultation have been assessed and the relative merits of the five possible solutions looked at more closely by the council’s transport planners.

The need for a long term strategy for the A40

County Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “Improving the A40 corridor is a priority for Oxfordshire County Council and the work we already have funding for will be the biggest the county council has delivered.

“We understand the frustrations of users of this major route. As the local MP, Prime Minister David Cameron has stated in the past, ‘The A40 is the foot on the windpipe of the West Oxfordshire economy’, and so by improving the A40 this will encourage more businesses to re location to West Oxfordshire offering more jobs.

“Building the dual carriageway and second bus lane is some way in the future and there’s a number of hurdles to overcome first. But now we have made a decision about what we need the ball is rolling.

“Being clear about the type of infrastructure we want means we can build a strong case to government, and have a greater chance of securing the necessary funding.”

What the public told us

In 2015 the county council held a series Connecting Oxfordshire consultation events and presented the public with information on the problems and potential solutions.

The greatest level of support was for a dual carriageway concept with train and bus lanes also receiving good levels of support.

County Councillor Hudspeth said: “There was a high level of interest when we held our consultation and there will be even more interest now that we have made the decision on the next steps.

“At the moment there are few transport choices from West Oxfordshire into and around Oxford.  Public transportation is limited to some rail connections or bus options which are subject to the same congestion issues as other vehicles on the A40. The only way to get to Oxford by road at the moment is to sit in chronic congestion – that has to be tackled.

“Over 800 responses were received during the consultation with the greatest level of support being given for a dual carriageway solution. Measures to support public transport as part of a combined approach also received favourable responses. We have sought to balance what people want with what we think will work and what we can get funding for.”

The Cabinet report can be viewed here.

 

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