The Government have announced their preferred corridor for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway and after a review by Highways England, it has opted for Corridor B, suggesting it "outperforms the other options by providing better links to jobs, education, leisure and health services."
The £3.5 billion expressway, which could pass either to the West or East of Oxford, is scheduled to open in 2030.
Promoting the decision to opt for Corridor B, ahead of a full public consultation to be held next year, Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: "The Expressway will enhance both transport connectivity and growth across the region for the benefit of the UK as a whole."
Oxfordshire County Council respond to the announcement:
Oxfordshire County Council welcomes the announcement of a preferred Corridor for part of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway as it offers a degree of clarity on where the final scheme would go. However we are very disappointed that we still don’t know about access to the M40 through Oxfordshire.
Highways England, who are leading on this national project, have identified Corridor B as their proposal, the central corridor from the three broad corridors being considered. However, we still have no indication on which of the sub-options around Oxford would be taken forward.
We will now carefully study the Corridor put forward, including the justification and technical detail which has led to this choice, and how it would affect already stretched roads, such as the A34 and interface with other schemes including East West Rail.
As a member of the Oxfordshire Growth Board, we strongly support better transport links and other infrastructure between Oxford and Cambridge in this strategically important corridor. However, we have set 3 tests to assess the decision-making process for that corridor and, eventually, the final route choice:
Impact on the A34: it should provide relief to congestion on the A34 and function as a separate strategic route, allowing the A34 around Oxford to work better for local traffic
Pressure on existing roads: It should not increase pressure on overstretched roads
Conflation with other schemes: It should be developed separately but alongside other local schemes, to ensure the highway network works for Oxfordshire overall.
This initiative aims to be a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to unlock growth that can help us to continue developing thriving, well connected communities for all in Oxfordshire. Invariably, a project of this magnitude and ambition will have an impact, which we will need to ensure is mitigated. That is why we are working with Highways England and in partnership with other councils, organisations and businesses to get the best deal for Oxfordshire.
We will continue to do this, and seek clarity on how the corridor choice is developed so that a decision can be made on the best route for the scheme.
For more information and a timeline of the scheme please click here.