A NEW park-and-ride at Eynsham and a bus lane into Oxford are the centrepiece of £38m of transport improvements unveiled for the A40.

In a bid to tackle rush-hour congestion, Oxfordshire County Council has also proposed junction improvements at Eynsham and Cassington, as well as a bus priority lane from Eynsham to Swinford Toll Bridge.

Senior councillors hope it will encourage commuters to leave their cars at home and take buses into the city, by separating them from regular traffic and making the services more reliable.

The local authority aims to deliver the measures by September 2020 and work could start as early as September 2018.

It is also preparing to launch a fresh consultation on other major schemes that could be carried out in the future, including dualling the carriageway, heavy and light rail, or guided busways and lanes.

County council leader Ian Hudspeth said it was part of efforts to “lift the foot off the windpipe of West Oxfordshire’s economy” - a reference to comments made by Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron last year.

The Oxford Times:

Transport bosses Ian Hudspeth and David Nimmo-Smith next to the A40

Mr Hudspeth told the Oxford Mail: “This is not about discouraging people from driving, but giving commuters a real choice.

“If a bus is sitting in the same queue as a car, it will not convince people to change.”

David Nimmo Smith, the county council’s cabinet member for environment, added that the measures would not rule out other schemes.

And he revealed “all options” were being considered, including the removal of the traffic light junction at the north of Eynsham.

He added: “We will look at whether all the junctions can be improved and if that is not possible with some then we will have to consider other ways to deal with it.”

The bus lane would run from the new park and ride at Eynsham and end at the bridge over Oxford Canal and the railway.

The county council said improvements would also be put in place at Wolvercote Roundabout to give buses priority at the junction after it is overhauled.

It is understood that a location being considered for the new park and ride, which will cost £6m, could be land north of Eynsham and the A40 near an existing petrol garage.

Mr Hudspeth said it would become a “hub” for buses, with services heading to both north and west Oxford stopping there.

Senior councillors will be asked to approve the scheme at a meeting of the cabinet on July 21.

The measures announced are part of a wider series of transport works that the county council says are worth more than £100m.

Along the A40, that includes improvements to the B4477 at Carterton, new west-facing slip roads at Minster Lovell, a new roundabout at Downs Road, junction improvements and a new roundabout at Witney, an A40-A44 link road in North Oxford and the overhaul of the Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts.

As reported last week by the Oxford Mail, a further package of measures are set to be put in place as part of the “Access to Headington” scheme.

At the July 21 meeting, councillors are also expected to consider the final version of a new Local Transport Plan for Oxfordshire after consultation earlier this year.

As part of that blueprint for transport schemes, a review of park and ride facilities will also be carried out.

LONG-TERM VISION?

MEASURES Oxfordshire County Council will ask the public for views on in a fresh consultation include:

  • Railway line between Witney and Yarnton – £289m
  • Light rail between Witney and Yarnton – £244m
  • Guided busway between Witney, Cassington and Wolvercote – £187m
  • Bus priority lanes in both directions between Witney and Wolvercote – £172m
  • Dualling the A40 carriageway – no cost estimate.

The planned improvements include:
F – A new park-and-ride on the A40, possibly near Eynsham, costing £6m
G – A40 junction improvements at Eynsham and Cassington at a cost of £3m
H – A bus lane on the A40 costing £29m
I – Bus priority approaching the Swinford Toll Bridge for £400,000
J – A new road linking the A40 and A44 bypassing Wolvercote roundabout