A PROPOSED £180million overhaul of the A40 between Witney and Oxford will not solve the busy route's congestion problems, according to residents.

Oxfordshire County Council is seeking public feedback on the plans for the upgrade scheme which will include a new Eynsham park-and-ride, an eastbound bus lane between Eynsham and the Duke's Cut canal bridge, near Wolvercote and improved cycle links.

And residents turned out in force for the first public consultation at Cassington Village Hall on Saturday, with many admitting they had not been convinced the major works would significantly ease the traffic woes on the busy stretch.

Speaking at the consultation one Cassington resident who did not want to be named said: "Something needs to be done about the A40, we can all agree on that but I would be flabbergasted if this is a real long-term solution.

“The sums just don’t add up. They’ve said if you’re going to relieve congestion on the A40, you need to impact on around 10 per cent of vehicles.
“If you were to fill a bus with 10 per cent of people who would otherwise be in their cars you’re going to have a bus every 30 seconds."

Commuters travelling between Witney and Oxford already face regular delays of 20 minutes with congestion on the road also affecting other routes such as the B4044.

Richard and Eleanor Wadge from Farmoor which lies along the rural route said: "We are very aware of what happens on the A40 and then what happens in our village as a result.
"I’m not sure how much of the existing problems are going to be solved by this; it’s got to be about convincing people to stop getting in the car in the first place.
"It seems people are still working with a 20th century mentality rather than a 21st century mentality.
"I’m concerned in a way that they aren’t looking far enough ahead.”

While Headington resident Tony Turton, a keen cyclist, said more should be done within the scheme to encourage people to ditch the car and get on their bike.

He said: “I think the cycle pathway should have priority, particularly over people exiting the petrol station and I’m disappointed there are no plans in the current design to make a safe crossing at the Eynsham roundabout which is currently quite dangerous for cyclists.”

With thousands of new homes planned for the district, including almost 3,000 just outside of Eynsham, the council is hoping the scheme will improve traffic flow on one of the county's busiest routes – currently used by up to 32,000 cars every day.

The project will be largely funded through the Local Growth Fund, with £35m already provisionally secured, and will be split into two phases.

The first includes the Eynsham Park & Ride and bus lanes scheme which the council aim to have in place by April 2021.

Phase 2 will then include the wider A40 strategy for improvement  up to 2031.

Construction is scheduled to start next year if further funds are approved.

To view the consultation online visit consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk