About the improvements
Known as the Wantage Eastern Link Road (WELR), the new road will run between the A417, east of Wantage (West Locking junction), and A338, north of Wantage (Mabley Way/A338 Roundabout). It will also provide the Kingsgrove housing development with direct access to both the A338 and A417.
Why are we investing here?
This area is seeing significant growth in the delivery of new homes, with up to 1500 homes currently being delivered at the Kingsgrove housing development. Investment is needed now so that the transport network can meet the demands that will be placed upon it.
The WELR will not only provide direct benefits to the Kingsgrove development but also benefits to the wider area such as:
- Improved air quality in central Wantage by reducing traffic congestion
- Provide essential relief to Wantage town centre and surrounding road junctions by creating an alternative ‘bypass’ route
- Improvements to the pedestrian and cycle environment, by providing high-quality pedestrian/cycle facilities.
What you can expect
The WELR scheme has been split into three sections. Sections one and two are being delivered and funded by the housing developer, St Modwen. Section three is being constructed by Oxfordshire County Council, through our contractor, Galliford Try.
Section one is the easter arm of WELR shown in red – Linking to A417
Section two is the western arm of WELR shown in orange – Linking to A338
Section three is the middle section linking the eastern and western arms, shown in green.
Section one is now complete, and we anticipate it being opened in winter 2023. Section two is currently under construction, with completion anticipated during winter 2023.
The construction works for section three will be delivered between autumn 2023 and summer 2024, which is when the entire WELR route is expected to open for all traffic fully.
Minimising the impact
Construction access to/from section three will be provided via the A338 Grove Road and Section two of the WELR scheme. As Section three is being built off the existing highway network, there is expected to be minimal traffic disruption during construction. We are working to coordinate with the developers to ensure there is minimal impact on the network as far as is reasonably practicable.
Traffic management arrangements are also available by visiting https://one.network/
How it is being funded
The scheme is being financed through Growth Deal funding and Section 106 contributions from developers.
Early phase works for section three, including setting up a site compound and earthworks, are now complete. Full construction of the highway works, which will include laying tarmac and sidewalks, landscaping and lighting, as well as the cycle and pedestrian paths, is now underway. The works will be carried out between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday.
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Why is the scheme needed?
Oxfordshire needs a modern, efficient, reliable, affordable, and sustainable transport system. The Vale of White Horse district has experienced (and will continue to experience) significant growth in housing over recent years, and investment is needed now so that the transport network can meet the demands that will be placed upon it in the future.
The Wantage Eastern Link Road (WELR) scheme will not only provide direct benefits to the residents of the Kingsgrove housing development but also wider benefits such as:
- improved air quality in central Wantage by reducing traffic congestion
- provide essential relief to Wantage town centre and surrounding road junctions by creating an alternative ‘bypass’ route
- improvements to the pedestrian and cycle environment, by providing high-quality pedestrian/cycle facilities
Wantage is a historic market town that is rapidly growing. The WELR scheme will bring key benefits to the town and this is an investment in an improved transport network (including walking and cycling infrastructure) needed to connect Wantage and its adjacent villages with the key employment centres in the Science Vale.
What improvements works are planned to take place, including those for public transport and walking and cycling?
Known as the WELR scheme, the new road will run between the A417, east of Wantage (at the West Locking junction), and A338, north of Wantage (at the Mabley Way/A338 roundabout). It will also provide the Kingsgrove housing development with direct access onto both the A338 and A417.
The WELR scheme has been split into three sections. Sections 1 and 2 are being funded and delivered by the housing developer, St Modwen. Section 3 is being constructed by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC), through our contractor, Galliford Try. The WELR scheme will provide segregated (shared) walking and cycle infrastructure in accordance with prevailing standards.
How much will it cost?
Section 3 of the WELR scheme will cost the County Council £10m to deliver.
Where is the money coming from to pay for it?
The scheme is being financed through Section 106 contributions from developers and the provision of infrastructure grant funding from Homes England.
What is the impact on traffic going to be?
The WELR scheme, once opened, will provide a long-awaited alternative route for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic between Wantage and Grove and, in doing so, reduce congestion in/around Wantage town centre.
The Section 3 construction works are being carried out between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. Given that Section 3 is being built away from the existing highway network, there is expected to be minimal traffic disruption during construction.
Will there be any impact on parking?
No on–street parking will be affected by the Section 3 works.
Will there be noise?
Noise will be limited as much as possible but there will be periods when noise is unavoidable. The works will be carried out between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. As set out above, given that Section 3 is being built away from the existing highway network (and away from existing residential properties), there is expected to be minimal noise disruption during construction.
How will the construction works affect traffic and road users – will there be lots of disruption, long delays or diversions in place?
Construction access to/from Section 3 will be provided via the A338 Grove Road and Section 2 of the WELR scheme. Given that Section 3 is being built off the existing highway network, there is expected to be minimal traffic disruption during construction. We are coordinating the delivery of Section 3 with St Modwen to ensure there is minimal impact on the highway network (and existing residential properties) as much as practicably possible.
Will I still be able to get to work/to my house?
As Section 3 is being built off the existing highway network, there is expected to be no impact in terms of highway access to residential properties across the Kingsgrove development.
What will the emergency services do?
We do not anticipate any disruption to emergency services.
How will public transport be affected?
Public transport will not be affected at this stage as no element of the WELR scheme is open to buses. Once complete and open to all traffic, bus operators will provide more details on which bus services may potentially use the route.
How will businesses be affected?
There are no businesses currently positioned on the route. The Kingsgrove café, which is near to the location of the Section 3 works has (and will) remain open as normal.
How has the land been obtained?
The land required to accommodate Section 3 of the WELR scheme has already been obtained through a Section 106 agreement that was entered into with relevant landowners.
How will the planned improvements affect surrounding residential areas such as Charlton, Ardington or West Lockinge?
The WELR scheme will provide a long-awaited alternative route for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic between Wantage and Grove and, in doing so, reduce congestion in/around Wantage town centre – this, in turn, is expected to reduce the impacts of congestion in/around Charlton, Ardington and West Lockinge.
When will construction start and how long is it expected to last?
Section 1 is now complete, and Section 2 is nearing full completion. The construction works for Section 3 are expected to last until summer 2024, which is when the entire WELR route is expected to fully open for all traffic.
Will the scheme increase the risk of flooding?
The entire WELR route falls within Flood Zone 1 based upon the Environment Agency’s flood mapping facility, meaning that there is a low probability of flooding on land that will accommodate the WELR scheme.
What is the width of the proposed share cycle and footpath?
The scheme will provide a shared footway/cycleway that shall measure 3m in width.
What will the speed limit of the route be once open?
In accordance with Sections 1 and 2 (delivered by St Modwen), Section 3 (and thus the entire WELR route) will operate under a 40mph speed limit once opened in summer 2024.
How can I ask a question, request further details or make a complaint/comment?
You can email the project team at email@example.com or write to: Oxfordshire County Council, County Hall, New Road, Oxford, OX1 1ND.
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