How do you solve a problem like the A40?

Witney Gazette: Keith Slater, chairman of the Oxfordshire Town Chamber Network, says that congestion on the A40 can harm business prospects for Oxfordshire as a whole. Picture: OX67555 Antony Moore Buy this photo Keith Slater, chairman of the Oxfordshire Town Chamber Network, says that congestion on the A40 can harm business prospects for Oxfordshire as a whole. Picture: OX67555 Antony Moore

THE A40 has long been the scourge of commuters who live in West Oxfordshire and work in Oxford.

Even though action plans have been suggested by successive Oxfordshire County Council administrations, no major changes have been made in at least four decades.

And with business experts admitting no action could drive away fed-up businesses, the need for action has never been greater.

The situation may change soon though, as transport bosses contemplate the cumulative effect of thousands of proposed new homes in West Oxfordshire, coupled with the Northern Gateway scheme in Oxford and a new development in Barton.

In Carterton alone, proposals for almost 1,700 homes are in the planning stages and the Northern Gateway is expected to create 3,000 jobs right next to the Peartree Roundabout in Oxford.

But that economic gain could be threatened if road infrastructure, such as the A40, is not upgraded at the same time.

In its latest transport strategy report, the county council notes: “Congestion on the A40 to the east of [Witney] causes very lengthy delays for journeys to and from Oxford at peak times.

“This impacts on the ability of local businesses to achieve growth.”

Oxfordshire Town Chamber Network chairman Keith Slater said congestion on the A40 had long been seen as a threat to business.

He said: “Solving the problem of traffic on the road is vital for Oxfordshire going forward, but the area around Oxford has never been seen as a priority by successive governments.

“The main concern for businesses is the time it adds to journeys going in and out of the city.

“If you travel at 7am you can do the journey in 25 minutes, but at 8am it can take more than an hour.

“That unpredictability, when it comes to managing commercial vehicles especially, is bad for business. The snarl-ups you get on the A40 are a prime example of that and they can make life very difficult.

“With this sort of thing it is hard to put a figure on it because there are so many factors, but it definitely has knock-on effects.”

For Oxfordshire County Council transport boss David Nimmo Smith, the A40 also remains a key issue.

He said: “We have got to improve the A40 to help deal with all the new developments and to encourage all these new businesses we want to attract to come to Oxfordshire.

“What we don’t want is people coming here and finding it hard to get around, because then they won’t want to stay.

“There are various ways of looking at it and some plans have been around since the ’70s and ’80s.

“At one point they wanted to make it a dual carriageway all the way into Oxford. That is an option, but what do you do when you get to Wolvercote?”

As well as dual carriageway, the county council has also considered creating dedicated bus lanes along the crammed route and has also reiterated its interest in creating park and ride sites in Eynsham for Oxford workers.

Mr Nimmo Smith said: “The main problem with all of these ideas is where you get the funding. So our priorities are the traffic bottlenecks as you come into Oxford, because they cause the greatest problems.

“At the moment, we think the scheme that will be financed by the Northern Gateway is the one we can unlock first.”

The Northern Gateway is the science and business park Oxford City Council is planning to create on the site between Wolvercote and the A34. It will also include about 200 homes.

But both the county council and the city council have agreed it cannot go ahead without transport improvements in the area because of the congestion on the A40 and Wolvercote roundabout.

The county council’s solution to the problem is a new link road between the A40 and the A44 and changes to the Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts. It will be paid for by the City Deal, signed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in February.

City council head of development Colin Cook said: “We are trying to work with the county council to ease the stress that the Gateway will cause, by introducing a new traffic regime.

Witney Gazette:

  • Cllr Colin Cook overlooking the triangle of land bounded by the A40, A34 and A44, to the west of Wolvercote roundabout, which is earmarked to become the city's Northern Gateway.

“That is partly providing creating better access, but it also involves getting people to use different forms of travel, such as buses and bicycles.

“The A40 into Oxford can certainly be a very annoying place to be stuck, but we hope future schemes will mitigate the impact of developments.“ The success of the Northern Gateway-financed link road and improvements to the roundabouts could be a key test for whether more work is carried out, said Mr Nimmo Smith.

He added: “The [link road and roundabouts] scheme is expected to ease congestion and it is the one we can accomplish the quickest. If afterwards we need to look at other actions then we’ll do that, but first we will see how well it helps the problem.”

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesman said the scheme was currently estimated to cost a combined £16m, but that it was subject to change.

When asked which options were being considered for the sections of the A40 further west, the spokesman refused to elaborate beyond the new link road and claimed the issues were addressed in council leader Ian Hudspeth’s Connecting Oxfordshire presentation in March.

The spokesman said: “This is a vision, not a list of costed schemes.”

That may not sound promising to the frustrated motorists who every day have to sit in queues along the road, but a vision is at least a sign of ambition.

COPING WITH PLANNED DEVELOPMENTS

  • CARTERTON – A development of 250 homes to the north of the town has already been approved, with 700 to the east submitted for planning approval and 1,000 more also in consultation stages in the west. New slip roads are to be added to the A40 from the B4477, which is also to become an A-road.
  • WITNEY – The county council has unveiled a range of measures to help cope with new homes in Witney, particularly 1,000 being built in West Witney, off Downs Road. The strategy, comprising four stages, starts with a new £2.5m traffic signal-controlled junction between Ducklington Lane and Station Lane and new junctions on the A40 at Downs Road and Shores Green.
  • WOLVERCOTE – The Northern Gateway scheme, part of the City Deal signed by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, is expected to create an estimated 3,000 jobs and include 200 new homes.
  • BARTON – The proposed 885-home Barton Park housing estate is currently planned via a bridge over the A40 into Northway that would cut through green space at Foxwell Drive.

A COMMUTER'S SORRY TALE OF THE A40

FATHER-of-two Mick Morris, chief executive of Wheatley-based motion capture firm Audiomotion, became so fed up with sitting in A40 tail-back queues that he stopped using the main road altogether.

The 40-year-old said: “I used to drive from Witney to Botley, where our offices were based, for nearly 10 years.

“It was utterly horrible then, a complete shambles, and it has still not improved.

“I now take the rat runs home through Woodstock and Bladon and other small villages, just to avoid sitting in the traffic every evening.

Witney Gazette:

  • Mick Morris

“There are lots of other people I know who use routes from Oxford via places like South Leigh as well, just so they don’t have to be stationary on the A40.

“The toll bridge, when you go via Farmoor, is another particularly bad place along the route, I don’t even want to think about what the air quality there must be like.

“It’s hard to put a number on how it affects businesses, but I know from experience that when we were based in Botley, clients who had spent a long time in traffic would arrive stressed and annoyed.

“And that can’t be good for business when you are having to work with them in performances for a week.”

Top News
Our top stories:

Comments (14)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:46pm Mon 2 Jun 14

the wizard says...

And why are we not also discussing the issues raised by the traffic lights at Cassington, the Eynsham round a bout and the next set of lights at the west end of Eynsham and the bug bear which is the turn off to Hanborough. All of these factors also cumulatively add to the fact that the traffic doesn't flow as it should. If you took those factors out of the picture there may be a slight improvement as to why the traffic doesn't flow in a westerly direction. Its not all about Oxford it also about what happens further on as well. Perhaps dualling from Eynsham roundabout onwards would help the flow .
And why are we not also discussing the issues raised by the traffic lights at Cassington, the Eynsham round a bout and the next set of lights at the west end of Eynsham and the bug bear which is the turn off to Hanborough. All of these factors also cumulatively add to the fact that the traffic doesn't flow as it should. If you took those factors out of the picture there may be a slight improvement as to why the traffic doesn't flow in a westerly direction. Its not all about Oxford it also about what happens further on as well. Perhaps dualling from Eynsham roundabout onwards would help the flow . the wizard
  • Score: 0

6:04pm Mon 2 Jun 14

John Lamb says...

Give everyone a helicopter?
Give everyone a helicopter? John Lamb
  • Score: -5

6:16pm Mon 2 Jun 14

the wizard says...

If 10 Downing St didn't exist and members had to commute daily, do you really think this problem and many others would still exist ? In recent years Woodward, Hurd,Straw and now Cameron would have all had to endure the A40. That shows the disregard they have for the working classes as they have failed to bring pressure to bear on the people responsible for this total outrage and the fact it has been allowed to continue this long. Mitchell and now Hudspeth have shown total contempt for residents of West Oxon, surely this cannot be allowed to continue.
If 10 Downing St didn't exist and members had to commute daily, do you really think this problem and many others would still exist ? In recent years Woodward, Hurd,Straw and now Cameron would have all had to endure the A40. That shows the disregard they have for the working classes as they have failed to bring pressure to bear on the people responsible for this total outrage and the fact it has been allowed to continue this long. Mitchell and now Hudspeth have shown total contempt for residents of West Oxon, surely this cannot be allowed to continue. the wizard
  • Score: 0

6:50pm Mon 2 Jun 14

BigAlBiker says...

Perhaps those who have to make the decisions ask the people who both use the road and live around it, like the first posted the traffic lights and roundabouts only slow down the traffic, put more obstacles in the way will make it worse, you have an exit road by Maudi Bond which could be reinstated to remove Eynsham, Standlake and such like traffic away (one way) but no, they put a barrier up.

One day these morons who "look after" our roads may do something for the majority of users namely cars rather than the minority of users.
Perhaps those who have to make the decisions ask the people who both use the road and live around it, like the first posted the traffic lights and roundabouts only slow down the traffic, put more obstacles in the way will make it worse, you have an exit road by Maudi Bond which could be reinstated to remove Eynsham, Standlake and such like traffic away (one way) but no, they put a barrier up. One day these morons who "look after" our roads may do something for the majority of users namely cars rather than the minority of users. BigAlBiker
  • Score: -2

8:18pm Mon 2 Jun 14

Christine Hovis says...

How is the housing at barton going to make a difference to people coming into Oxford on the A40? Are you suggesting that people in Barton will be commuting to Witney (or vice versa).

We need more public transport so that we don't have thousands of people rat running (an interviewee's words) across the villages of Oxfordshire everyday.
How is the housing at barton going to make a difference to people coming into Oxford on the A40? Are you suggesting that people in Barton will be commuting to Witney (or vice versa). We need more public transport so that we don't have thousands of people rat running (an interviewee's words) across the villages of Oxfordshire everyday. Christine Hovis
  • Score: -1

7:53am Tue 3 Jun 14

Ross J says...

As tax paying road users, a total of nearly 80 BILLION pounds is taken in revenue every year. Perhaps the funding could be allocated from this meager pot? I say dual carriageway all the way through, and build an underpass or flyover through Wolvercote.

No one said it would be easy and I'm sure the few that live in Wolvercote won't be happy, but it'll be the end of the situation and we can all start to be miserable about something else.
As tax paying road users, a total of nearly 80 BILLION pounds is taken in revenue every year. Perhaps the funding could be allocated from this meager pot? I say dual carriageway all the way through, and build an underpass or flyover through Wolvercote. No one said it would be easy and I'm sure the few that live in Wolvercote won't be happy, but it'll be the end of the situation and we can all start to be miserable about something else. Ross J
  • Score: -5

8:38am Tue 3 Jun 14

wolvercoter says...

Dear Ross J. There is already an underpass at Wolvercote. It has been there rather a long time. It is occupied by a Railway line, in the process of being updated. So you can't actually build another one unless Wolvercote sank into the earth or you are prepared to pay for something like the Channel tunnel. I am one of the (not actually very) "few" Wolvercote residents who has been saying for years that the "Northern Gateway" is not viable if built in that spot because of the traffic chaos which would very obviously ensue.. This is not Nimbyism, It is common sense. However the City planning department does not seem to operate on common sense .Recent consultation shows they still haven't come up with any solution to the costs and problems that will be caused if they build it there. And look at Colin Cook with his vague waffle about "a traffic regime". What regime? Nobody has thought it out at all. Is he determined to build on that particular space because he the council will benefit financially from developing its own land?
Dear Ross J. There is already an underpass at Wolvercote. It has been there rather a long time. It is occupied by a Railway line, in the process of being updated. So you can't actually build another one unless Wolvercote sank into the earth or you are prepared to pay for something like the Channel tunnel. I am one of the (not actually very) "few" Wolvercote residents who has been saying for years that the "Northern Gateway" is not viable if built in that spot because of the traffic chaos which would very obviously ensue.. This is not Nimbyism, It is common sense. However the City planning department does not seem to operate on common sense .Recent consultation shows they still haven't come up with any solution to the costs and problems that will be caused if they build it there. And look at Colin Cook with his vague waffle about "a traffic regime". What regime? Nobody has thought it out at all. Is he determined to build on that particular space because he the council will benefit financially from developing its own land? wolvercoter
  • Score: 2

10:23am Tue 3 Jun 14

the wizard says...

Elsewhere they are looking to the future and making things viable to persuade people to leave the car at home,

http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/uk-wales-south
-east-wales-26278278
Elsewhere they are looking to the future and making things viable to persuade people to leave the car at home, http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-wales-south -east-wales-26278278 the wizard
  • Score: -5

12:50pm Tue 3 Jun 14

King Joke says...

wolvercoter wrote:
Dear Ross J. There is already an underpass at Wolvercote. It has been there rather a long time. It is occupied by a Railway line, in the process of being updated. So you can't actually build another one unless Wolvercote sank into the earth or you are prepared to pay for something like the Channel tunnel. I am one of the (not actually very) "few" Wolvercote residents who has been saying for years that the "Northern Gateway" is not viable if built in that spot because of the traffic chaos which would very obviously ensue.. This is not Nimbyism, It is common sense. However the City planning department does not seem to operate on common sense .Recent consultation shows they still haven't come up with any solution to the costs and problems that will be caused if they build it there. And look at Colin Cook with his vague waffle about "a traffic regime". What regime? Nobody has thought it out at all. Is he determined to build on that particular space because he the council will benefit financially from developing its own land?
I agree the NOrthern Gateway makes no sense, and I don't live in Wolvercote so I can't be a NIMBY.
[quote][p][bold]wolvercoter[/bold] wrote: Dear Ross J. There is already an underpass at Wolvercote. It has been there rather a long time. It is occupied by a Railway line, in the process of being updated. So you can't actually build another one unless Wolvercote sank into the earth or you are prepared to pay for something like the Channel tunnel. I am one of the (not actually very) "few" Wolvercote residents who has been saying for years that the "Northern Gateway" is not viable if built in that spot because of the traffic chaos which would very obviously ensue.. This is not Nimbyism, It is common sense. However the City planning department does not seem to operate on common sense .Recent consultation shows they still haven't come up with any solution to the costs and problems that will be caused if they build it there. And look at Colin Cook with his vague waffle about "a traffic regime". What regime? Nobody has thought it out at all. Is he determined to build on that particular space because he the council will benefit financially from developing its own land?[/p][/quote]I agree the NOrthern Gateway makes no sense, and I don't live in Wolvercote so I can't be a NIMBY. King Joke
  • Score: 2

7:18pm Tue 3 Jun 14

The New Private Eye says...

wolvercoter wrote:
Dear Ross J. There is already an underpass at Wolvercote. It has been there rather a long time. It is occupied by a Railway line, in the process of being updated. So you can't actually build another one unless Wolvercote sank into the earth or you are prepared to pay for something like the Channel tunnel. I am one of the (not actually very) "few" Wolvercote residents who has been saying for years that the "Northern Gateway" is not viable if built in that spot because of the traffic chaos which would very obviously ensue.. This is not Nimbyism, It is common sense. However the City planning department does not seem to operate on common sense .Recent consultation shows they still haven't come up with any solution to the costs and problems that will be caused if they build it there. And look at Colin Cook with his vague waffle about "a traffic regime". What regime? Nobody has thought it out at all. Is he determined to build on that particular space because he the council will benefit financially from developing its own land?
the simple answer is a fly-over for A40 traffic, and a proper junction for traffic to merge onto A44/34 it is simple. But it costs money, unlike nicking drivers for doing 24mph up St Giles that raises money. Sadly we now live in a world where the £ in king.
[quote][p][bold]wolvercoter[/bold] wrote: Dear Ross J. There is already an underpass at Wolvercote. It has been there rather a long time. It is occupied by a Railway line, in the process of being updated. So you can't actually build another one unless Wolvercote sank into the earth or you are prepared to pay for something like the Channel tunnel. I am one of the (not actually very) "few" Wolvercote residents who has been saying for years that the "Northern Gateway" is not viable if built in that spot because of the traffic chaos which would very obviously ensue.. This is not Nimbyism, It is common sense. However the City planning department does not seem to operate on common sense .Recent consultation shows they still haven't come up with any solution to the costs and problems that will be caused if they build it there. And look at Colin Cook with his vague waffle about "a traffic regime". What regime? Nobody has thought it out at all. Is he determined to build on that particular space because he the council will benefit financially from developing its own land?[/p][/quote]the simple answer is a fly-over for A40 traffic, and a proper junction for traffic to merge onto A44/34 it is simple. But it costs money, unlike nicking drivers for doing 24mph up St Giles that raises money. Sadly we now live in a world where the £ in king. The New Private Eye
  • Score: -5

9:57am Wed 4 Jun 14

DEnright says...

A40 issue should be addressed with national Government money as it is a strategic route, and the current situation affects not just Oxon but all points west that get stuck in our jams. The solution must include public transport options and work on the A40 junctions. It must also include strategic decisions about more employment in West Oxfordshire so we don't all commute out, more remote working and new patterns of travel. Labour councillors on West Oxon, County and City have all raised A40 as a priority and will continue to press for a strategic approach. Witney Oxford Transport campaign is worth supporting as it is proposing a new focus on traffic and the A40.
A40 issue should be addressed with national Government money as it is a strategic route, and the current situation affects not just Oxon but all points west that get stuck in our jams. The solution must include public transport options and work on the A40 junctions. It must also include strategic decisions about more employment in West Oxfordshire so we don't all commute out, more remote working and new patterns of travel. Labour councillors on West Oxon, County and City have all raised A40 as a priority and will continue to press for a strategic approach. Witney Oxford Transport campaign is worth supporting as it is proposing a new focus on traffic and the A40. DEnright
  • Score: -1

10:29am Wed 4 Jun 14

the wizard says...

DEnright wrote:
A40 issue should be addressed with national Government money as it is a strategic route, and the current situation affects not just Oxon but all points west that get stuck in our jams. The solution must include public transport options and work on the A40 junctions. It must also include strategic decisions about more employment in West Oxfordshire so we don't all commute out, more remote working and new patterns of travel. Labour councillors on West Oxon, County and City have all raised A40 as a priority and will continue to press for a strategic approach. Witney Oxford Transport campaign is worth supporting as it is proposing a new focus on traffic and the A40.
Quite right Duncan, the successive Tory councils have had their heads in the sand over this for decades, and as usual as surrounding ground gets built on, they have, in their time honoured fashion, painted themselves into the proverbial corner.

Despite his promises Cameron has done nothing about this nor the Witney/Shores Green/CLR conundrum and as MP for Witney, if he had any respect at all for the people there, then he would have made it a priority.. He continues to walk away from any contentious issues, and yet he calls himself a leader. What a total farce it is, and the man himself. If they can find the money for the war he wanted with Syria, then they can find the money to sort this lot out.
[quote][p][bold]DEnright[/bold] wrote: A40 issue should be addressed with national Government money as it is a strategic route, and the current situation affects not just Oxon but all points west that get stuck in our jams. The solution must include public transport options and work on the A40 junctions. It must also include strategic decisions about more employment in West Oxfordshire so we don't all commute out, more remote working and new patterns of travel. Labour councillors on West Oxon, County and City have all raised A40 as a priority and will continue to press for a strategic approach. Witney Oxford Transport campaign is worth supporting as it is proposing a new focus on traffic and the A40.[/p][/quote]Quite right Duncan, the successive Tory councils have had their heads in the sand over this for decades, and as usual as surrounding ground gets built on, they have, in their time honoured fashion, painted themselves into the proverbial corner. Despite his promises Cameron has done nothing about this nor the Witney/Shores Green/CLR conundrum and as MP for Witney, if he had any respect at all for the people there, then he would have made it a priority.. He continues to walk away from any contentious issues, and yet he calls himself a leader. What a total farce it is, and the man himself. If they can find the money for the war he wanted with Syria, then they can find the money to sort this lot out. the wizard
  • Score: -1

8:28am Thu 5 Jun 14

paddy173 says...

It's a shame that when the A34 bridge was rebuilt that a slip road was not developed between the A40 and the A34 this would take some pressure off of the city motors roundabout
It's a shame that when the A34 bridge was rebuilt that a slip road was not developed between the A40 and the A34 this would take some pressure off of the city motors roundabout paddy173
  • Score: 2

10:16am Thu 5 Jun 14

jochta says...

Re-open the Oxford, Witney and Fairford railway which had stations at Eynsham, Witney and Carterton. It could have a new station serving the Northern Gateway. Maybe as a tramway to overcome difficulties where it has been built on.
Re-open the Oxford, Witney and Fairford railway which had stations at Eynsham, Witney and Carterton. It could have a new station serving the Northern Gateway. Maybe as a tramway to overcome difficulties where it has been built on. jochta
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree