Botley Road improvements (phase 1)

Work to provide major bus, cycle and pedestrian improvements along Botley Road.

Latest update

Construction is due to commence on the first phase of the works at the Seacourt Park and Road junction from 13 July 2020.

Work on the project had originally been expected to start earlier in the year, but a thorough review of working arrangements in relation to COVID-19 and utility diversions has meant a delay of a few weeks.

We have worked closely with our contractors Skanska and have taken the decision to start work under strict guidelines that will continue to protect the public and the people working on site. We will be employing strict methods of working at the site including adhering to social distancing advice.

We will keep the site under review to ensure that work continues to progress safely at all times and in line with any further Public Health England issued advice.

COVID-19 : Working safely and to government guidelines

The government has stated that any work that can be done safely and within Public Health England guidance can continue.

Safety for the site workers and general public is paramount and the county council is working closely with its contractors to assess the site and ensure that all working practices adhere to government guidance.

What happens next?

In order to maintain an efficient as possible network during construction the proposed works have been split into six (6) phases as follows. Current indicative construction dates for each phase are given in brackets

  1. Seacourt Park & Ride junction (July 2020 to November 2020)
  2. Westminster Way junction (November 2020 to February 2021)
  3. A34/A420 Slip Road junction (February 2021 to June 2021)
  4. Lamarsh Road to Prestwich Place (June 2021 to September 2021)
  5. Prestwich Place to Binsey Lane September 2021 to January 2022)
  6. Eynsham Road junction to Poplar Road (June 2021 to November 2021)

These phases are further defined within the General Arrangement Plan attached within the Diagrams and Plans section of the page below.

The first phase of work will start at the junction with the Seacourt Park & Ride and covers a length from its bridge over Seacourt Stream for a distance of approximately 250 metres eastwards (towards the city centre). Works include a replacement traffic signalised junction, amendments to bus stops, improvements to pedestrian and cycling facilities and carriageway surfacing. This section also includes works to the spine road into the park and ride site.

The county council and Skanska has designed the traffic management to minimise the impact as far as possible on residents and businesses plus road users affected by these works including bus services.

The team will be working hard to minimise disruption in a number of ways. Any temporary traffic lights that are required will be manually controlled throughout  weekdays 7am to 7pm and at weekends 10am to 2pm so that the team can respond quickly to traffic conditions as they happen.

Delays are likely throughout the works and everyone is being asked to review their daily route, mode of transport and time of travel and where possible consider alternatives.

Works information signage will appear on the Botley Road shortly including directions to this information page. Further information including updates on progress, changes in traffic management and works programme will continue to be provided.

Why we are doing this project?

Botley Road is recognised as being a very slow route in and out of Oxford city centre facing daily congestion problems and poor journey experiences for road users. The corridor is a vital public transport link in Oxford as it:

  • offers the only east to west route in and out of the city from the west;
  • supports a high proportion of cycling; and
  • serves a diverse function for buses, both local services and the park and ride, as well as intra-urban services.

Specific objectives of the Botley Road Corridor project include:

  • Improvements in both eastbound and westbound bus journey times.
  • Modal shift from general traffic to walking, cycling, and buses.
  • A reduction in personal injury accidents on Botley Road.
  • An increase in cycling and walking in excess of background growth.
  • Manage growth in car traffic by improving provision for more walking, cycling and use of public transport.
  • Provide safer options for travel to school and university for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Promote health and wellbeing by reducing transport’s environmental impacts

Improving public transport

Building upon objectives set out in the Oxford Transport Strategy, a study of Botley Road was completed in 2016 which confirmed, following stakeholder feedback, the value of a high-quality route that prioritised sustainable transport modes to ease congestion, reduce journey times and improve journey experience.

The project presents an opportunity to provide a route that prioritises sustainable transport along the corridor between Binsey Lane and Eynsham Road; specifically, for buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

These improvements will be further enhanced with future proposals such as Connecting Oxford and Network Rails proposed widening at Botley Rail Bridge.

What we are proposing?

The key changes that will be brought about by this project include:

  • Bus priority measures to improve bus journey times and reliability along the corridor.
  • Major cycle improvements to create a safer and continuous route along the corridor. This includes changes to several junctions along the route, notably changing the layout of junctions to encourage a reduction in the speed of vehicles using them, and providing additional cycle lanes to provide a clearly marked space for cyclists. 
  • More consistent and improved pedestrian provision, including additional crossings.
  • Road surface repairs and improvements which will improve the condition and ride quality of the road to the benefit of all users.
  • Investigation into implementing measures for a SMART corridor.

Diagrams and plans

Frequently asked questions

What are the Botley Road corridor improvements?

£9.1m has been secured to develop a package of work to improve the travelling experience along the Botley Road and provide a route that prioritises sustainable transport; specifically, for buses, cyclists and pedestrians.

The proposed improvements to the Botley Road corridor aims to:

  • ease congestion on the route
  • reduce bus journey times by avoiding the key bottlenecks so that they have an advantage over general traffic
  • provide a safer and more attractive route for cyclists and pedestrians 
  • reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality.
  • encourage greater use of more sustainable modes of transport such as buses, cycling and walking

It will also:

  • unlock economic growth and job creation opportunities by benefiting development sites with improved access and additional capacity, including supporting further housing and growth in Oxford city centre, Botley and along the A420.
  • introduce smart technology along the corridor and provide some of the groundwork for the upcoming Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) trials.

What are the works and how will it improve the area?

Phase 1 of the project covers the length of Botley Road from its junction with Eynsham Road to its junction with Binsey Lane.

Phase 2 extends from Binsey Lane to the Botley Road rail bridge.

Proposed improvements include:

  • upgraded junctions including at Eynsham Road and at Seacourt P & R
  • new cycle lanes including shared pedestrian and cycle paths
  • new pedestrian and cycle crossings
  • side road entry treatments
  • bus priority measures
  • ‘Floating’ bus stops

Why is it needed?

This project is needed as Botley Road is recognised as being a very slow route in and out of the city centre, facing daily congestion problems, poor journey experiences for all road users.

A study of the Botley Road corridor in early 2016 identified key changes were needed to encourage more people to travel by bus or other sustainable transport options to reduce the overall amount of traffic and reduce vehicle emissions and improve air quality.

How much will it cost?

The total project will cost around £9.1m.

This budget is sufficient to progress Phase 1 through to construction however it currently only permits Phase 2 to be progressed to the end of preliminary design.

Where is the money coming from to pay for it?

The proposed improvements are funded via a variety of sources such as the department for transport National Productivity Investment Fund, Growth Deal and (s106) developer contributions.

When will work start?

Negotiations into works such as diversions or protection of statutory undertaker apparatus (gas, electric, water etc) remain ongoing  with the first phase of the main works following on from late May 2020.

Works will be undertaken in a total of six phases as detailed above.

Where will the first phase of work start?

The first phase of work will start at the junction with the Seacourt Park & Ride and covers a length from its bridge over Seacourt Stream for a distance approximately 250 metres eastwards (towards the city centre).

Works include a replacement traffic signalised junction, amendments to bus stops, improvements to pedestrian and cycling facilities and carriageway surfacing. This section also includes works to the spine road into the park and ride site.

What is the overall programme of works?

The commencement of the main works is currently scheduled for 25 May 2020. The duration of all six phases, combined, is for an estimated period of up to 16 months.

These works are currently affected by COVID-19 restrictions and we are following closely the advice issued by Public Health England, including social distancing and safe working practices. We continue to work closely with our contractors Skanska including taking the decision to progress towards starting work under strict guidelines that will protect the public and the people working on site.

Exact dates and timings remain subject to ongoing advice on COVID-19 as released by Public Health England.

What will be the hours of working?

Our working hours are typically 7:30am to 6pm Monday to Friday. Saturday mornings will be utilised when necessary. The working hours on Saturdays will be 7am to 1pm and advanced notification of any Saturday works will be provided.

Occasionally we may need to do night time working in order to carry out work which we are unable to do during the day (due to lack of space or safety), in which case the hours will be 8pm to 6am. We will ensure that all residents and those that are affected are informed in advance of these night time closures and any other work that may have a significant impact.  

What is the impact on traffic going to be?

The aim of the work is ultimately to make travelling in and out of Oxford along the Botley Road better, but in the short term the work will cause some inconvenience.

We will be working hard to minimise disruption in a number of ways. Any temporary traffic lights we use will be manually controlled throughout the day so that we can respond quickly to traffic conditions as they happen.

The advice is always to plan your journeys to avoid being late. Public transport, including park and rides, is likely to be a better option for many people and is recommended.

Some of our works will require short periods of road closures. These are likely to be undertaken in the evening and overnight with traffic likely to be affected.

For road closures there will be diversion signs in place and advanced warning signs prior to the closures being implemented. Advanced notification will be given to affected residents and businesses also.

Will there be any impact on parking?

There may be temporary disruption to on street parking during construction, in which case we will provide advanced notice of this.

There are locations within the scheme where parking is proposed to be removed completely and the Traffic Regulation Order’s (TRO’s) for these will be consulted on during autumn 2019. You will be able to find out more information on these areas on the projects webpage www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/botleyroad

Will there be noise?

Noise will be limited as much as possible but there will be periods when noise is unavoidable.

When we do work at night, noise will be limited to before 11pm as per our Section 61 agreement with Oxford City Council. Communication will be undertaken prior to these works being undertaken.

Will there be road / lane closures?

Yes, there will be road / lane closures, they will be advertised on site before happening and will be limited to evenings and nights. We will also outline all road closures on the project webpage and in the e-bulletin.

Will there be diversions?

Yes, there will be signed diversions associated with any road closures.

Will I still be able to get to work/ to my house?

We will be closing roads whilst we carry out the work. However, we will do what we can to make sure access is maintained where possible. Our project team will be on hand to assist where necessary.

Access for vehicular driveways may be affected, but the contractor will discuss this with you and, where possible, make arrangements to ensure that individual access is retained during the works where possible.

What will the emergency services do?

All emergency services will be informed of road closures and roadworks so that they can choose the most appropriate route. Emergency services are allowed to pass through road closures and are well practiced in finding the best ways to get to their destination in all circumstances. Assistance from the project team will also be provided.

How will public transport be affected?

We have been in regular contact with the bus companies prior to the project starting and will continue to do so throughout the scheme. Public transport will continue to run but may be affected by any delays due to the roadworks. We would advise allowing a little longer for your journey.

How will businesses be affected?

There will be times throughout the project when we will be working directly outside businesses. We will work with our contractor to ensure there are no access restrictions to the business and they will be able to run as normal including the receiving and making of deliveries.

How do I keep up to date with what is going on?

During the design process you can keep up to date with progress via the project webpage at www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/botleyroad

When the project gets to the construction stage our project team will also be delivering letters throughout the scheme to residents and businesses advising of any work that is likely to be directly disruptive to them and prior to any significant changes to the traffic management set up. You can also sign up, via the above project web page, to our project e-bulletin which will be sent out via email on approximately a fortnightly basis.

How can I ask a questions or make a complaint?

Should you have any questions or wish to make a complaint you can email highwayenquiries@oxfordshire.gov.uk, or call us on 0345 310 11 11.

Bus lanes – what are the hours of operation?

24/7 along the route.  

Will cyclists still be able to use bus lanes.

Yes, along with hackney carriages (taxis) 

What happens with the comments from the consultation?

The project team will review all of the comments received and this will inform the design going forward.  We are looking at preferences on the side road entry treatments and will consider the majority views on these. There will be another consultation following the next design stage which will allow you to review the updated drawings and provide further comments.