We can only guess what those who this week fought their way through roadworks to arrive in Oxford late for work or appointments made of our front page story about bus tunnels being dug across Oxford’s historic centre.

Through gritted teeth, some may wonder why Oxfordshire County Council is focusing its energies on imagining how not one but up to three bus tunnels could ease Oxford’s traffic miseries in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time.

The most eye-catching — or should that be eye-watering? — idea is to build a mile-long tunnel that would run under the River Cherwell, the High Street, Queen Street and on to the new transport hub at Oxford’s railway station.

The High might be more associated with wine cellars and medieval underground tunnels than a multi-million-pound route for electric buses.

But Oxford Civic Society chairman Peter Thompson, a chartered civic engineer, is right to suggest that any engineering problem can be overcome — so long as you are prepared to pay sufficient millions.

And for this mile-long tunnel across Oxford’s historic heart, the scheme could easily reach £500m.

Many will view Mr Ian Hudspeth as bold in putting forward such an idea, others may groan that it would be good simply to see the current works on the ring road completed.

But unlike the vast bulk of politicians, he does at least have his eyes on the long term, recognising Oxford’s circumstances mean no ordinary solution is going to be sufficient to end the city’s chronic congestion, which is destined to get far, far worse.

Rising population, new house building, business parks and a flood of workers means the issue of our road congestion is not going away.

We are, after all, talking about having to cope with the forecast of 85,000 new jobs and 100,000 new homes planned in the county up to 2031.

But the danger of the county’s Connecting Oxfordshire initiative is that it could be seen to smack of desperation.

It has already produced so many potentially multi-million-pound schemes, such as tramways from the city centre to the suburbs, a guided busway to surrounding towns and a monorail.

What next? An Oxford underground system?

Mr Hudspeth readily admits details are lacking, as well as, crucially, the costing.

For him, the key is to get the debate going and keep it going until agreed solutions are thrashed out.

There are certainly signs that, for the first time in a generation, there is big money on offer from the Government.

But the key thing will be to narrow the options as quickly as possible between what is remotely feasible and what is not.