A £102m plan to turn the A40 into a dual-carriageway between Witney and Eynsham has been approved.

The government has today announced it has awarded the cash to Oxfordshire County Council. 

The authority submitted a bid in March for £102m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) to help extend the A40 dual carriageway from Witney to a proposed new Eynsham park and ride.

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Today the Treasury has announced the bid was successful.

The county council also hopes the cash will help pay to improve cycling facilities on the route and extend the A40 westbound bus lane from west of the Duke’s Cut canal and railway bridges, near Wolvercote, to the park and ride.

The council says the improvements will 'unlock' (allow ithe building of) 4,800 new homes nearby.

Witney Gazette:

Traffic on the A40 at Barnard Gate. This would be made a dual carriageway under new proposals Picture: Ed Nix

County council leader Ian Hudspeth said when the funding application was submitted in March: “This bid will help us make the A40 fit for purpose giving it a much-needed upgrade to support sustainable growth in West Oxfordshire.

"The A40 is already above capacity severely affecting residents and businesses.

"The massive improvements we are proposing will alleviate congestion, improve public transport, making journeys more reliable and shorter and linking this route to the future Eynsham park and ride.”

Up to 32,000 vehicles use the congested route every day, which has been described by business leaders and Witney MP Robert Courts as one of the biggest barriers to economic growth in the district.

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In November, the county council revealed £180m plans to improve the road, including the new park and ride, which would lie north of the A40, west of Cuckoo Lane, Eynsham.

New bus stops on the A40, westbound bus priority and junction improvements at certain points of the stretch also feature in the 'bus lane project'.

Extra improvements have been broken down into five elements, one of which is extending the A40 dual carriageway from Witney to the park and ride.

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The HIF bid was put together in close partnership with West Oxfordshire District Council and, if successful, would also deliver capacity and connectivity improvements at the Duke’s Cut Canal and railway bridges.

This would include an eastbound bus route over the bridges on the approach to Wolvercote and improved cycle facilities, including a link joining the A40 cycle route to the National Cycle Network route 5, along the Oxford Canal.

The council’s original proposals included the B4044 Community Path, which was removed from the package due to the 'specific criteria' for HIFs.