Vital upgrades will be carried out on the A40 to ease congestion, boost local bus services and allow the construction of thousands of new homes in Oxfordshire, thanks to £35 million in government funding announced today.
The scheme will see an 850-space park and ride facility, including cycle parking and electric car chargepoints, built to the north-west of Eynsham, as the Department for Transport (DfT) pushes ahead with plans to build back greener from the pandemic.
Two new bus lanes will also be created along the carriageway, taking bus-users eastbound from the new site to just before the Dukes Cut, and westbound on the approach to Cassington, helping to significantly improve bus journey times.
The works announced today will form the first part of the wider £156 million A40 transport package, which aims to provide additional highway space and improve transport links while encouraging a shift to more sustainable forms of travel. These plans will provide access to over 4,800 new homes in the region and a significant boost to the local economy.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: “Local residents have suffered with traffic and congestion along the A40 for too long, which is why I’m thrilled to announce this multimillion-pound investment to improve the route, increase capacity and provide a significant boost to public transport.
“Providing faster, more frequent and more reliable bus journeys is a key commitment in our national bus strategy – and one I take very seriously. I’m, therefore, delighted to see this funding going towards giving local residents the bus services they deserve.
“And by building improved and safer infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, we will enable more people to take up active travel as a healthier and more sustainable way to get around.”
The A40 is currently one of the last-remaining main roads through Oxford that lacks a park and ride service. The new scheme will help to cut congestion by encouraging local motorists to stop using their cars for their whole journey and choose to use more sustainable modes of transport, such as local bus services to get about the region.
Proposed works will also see the creation of a 3-metre wide separate path for cyclists and pedestrians along the route of the A40 from Witney to Oxford, replacing the existing narrower path. This will include safe, signal-controlled crossings for cyclists and pedestrians at various junctions, making greener modes of travel more accessible to people in the area.
It’s estimated the proposed works will help create a green legacy in Oxfordshire and improve air quality by reducing CO2 emissions in the region.
Councillor Duncan Enright, Cabinet Member for Travel and Development Strategy, said: “We are delighted the funding is confirmed to support transport, particularly regular swift buses and world-class cycle lanes, along this major route. For years residents in West Oxfordshire have had to endure congestion on the A40 and its impact on every aspect of their lives.
“This key project will not only deliver safer and more reliable travel options between Witney and Oxford, but support the growth of much-needed jobs and housing in the area. All while promoting vital sustainable transport.”
The total cost of the scheme comes to £49.3 million, with the remaining funding coming from the Oxfordshire Growth Deal – Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and private developer contributions – in addition to the DfT’s multimillion-pound contribution. Main works should get underway in 2022 and be completed in mid-2024.