HIGHWAY bosses are preparing an action plan to prevent more crashes on the A34 after a safety review revealed the road’s crash blackspots.

Early findings of the work show collisions were concentrated on the stretch of carriageway between Oxford and Bicester, as well as from Milton to East Ilsley.

From January 2011 to November 2016, there were 42 crashes alone on the stretch on road north of Pear Tree and another 32 at the Wendlebury Interchange.

Analysis also found that 157 collisions happened on the northbound carriageway between the M4 and the M40, almost twice the number that took place on the southbound carriageway, at 85.

Oxfordshire’s MPs met with Highways England on Monday to discuss the findings and have also agreed to lobby Lord Adonis, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, to support an upgrade to the dual-carriageway.

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “These statistics, and the cost in human misery they reflect, underline the overwhelming case, both on safety and economic grounds, both for the quickest possible action to improve safety, and the need for a major upgrade of the whole route.”

Robert Courts, Witney MP, added: “The A34, alongside the A40, is a key route for many West Oxfordshire residents and it is vital that it is made safer.”

Highways England is considering measures that can be deployed quickly as well as those which will take longer, Mr Smith said yesterday.

Short-term changes could include electronic signs, new gantries and possibly speed cameras, which campaigners say are needed urgently.

Meanwhile, he said work to upgrade the road’s length to ‘expressway’ standard – part of plans for the £3.5bn Oxford-Cambridge Expressway – could also include changes to make it safer, such as adding lanes and lay-bys.

Last year Roads Minister John Hayes hinted the Government could consider making the A34 a motorway if it thought the change was necessary in the long-term.

The trunk road carries almost 80,000 vehicles a day and has been described as ‘no longer fit for purpose’.

There was an outcry over safety last August, when a multi-vehicle pile-up at Hinksey Hill injured 13 people including three-year-old Isla Wiggin, who died in hospital.

In another crash just two weeks earlier at East Ilsley, Tracy Houghton, her sons Ethan, 13, and Josh, 11, and her partner’s 11-year-old daughter Aimee Goldsmith, from Bedfordshire, died in an eight-vehicle crash. Twelve others were injured.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Hayes ordered Highways England to carry out a safety review. A progress report, seen by the Oxford Mail, said the authority would aim to present options by June.

ACCORDING to analysis carried out for Highways England, 462 collisions happened on the the A34 between the M4 and M40 from January 2011 to November 2016. These included:

  • 32 collisions at the A34/M40 Wendlebury Interchange
  • 42 collisions on the northbound carriageway between A44 Pear Tree and the M40
  • 8 collisions on the Kidlington southbound slip road
  • 15 collisions on the northbound carriageway to the south of the South Hinksey
  • 17 collisions on the northbound carriageway to the south of the Milton Interchange
  • 11 collisions on the northbound carriageway to the south of East Isley
  • 7 collisions on the northbound carriageway to the south of Beedon. On that stretch of the road, the findings also showed 22 per cent of crashes happened on unlit sections. This was above the national average of 18 per cent.