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The government has chosen expressway corridor ‘B’…
On 12 September, 2018 the Government announced that Corridor B had been chosen as the preferred corridor for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway.
The Government’s full report can be read here.
The No Expressway Group’s Press Release in response to the announcement.
But is that the whole story..?
However, on January 11th, 2019 the Roads Minister, Jesse Norman MP, said the following in a parliamentary Adjournment debate on the expressway, called by Layla Moran (Lib Dem Oxford West/Abingdon):
“As I said, we haven't made any pre-judgements. Our very strong preference is not to cross Otmoor. We have therefore selected options that do not do that. We have given that very clear signal. But it's important to say that we are still at the relatively early stage of the process and therefore our preferred routes are just that, and subject to further discussions, consultation and review. The Government and Highways England need to do serious further analytical work to develop, design and route options that are workable for the communities and the environment that facilitate movement and that ease travel for people both working and at leisure. As has been mentioned, there are considerable constraints in relation to Oxford, of many different kinds, and these are part of the wider process of evaluation...."
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Your expressway questions answered
What is the Oxford-Cambridge expressway?
The expressway is a minimum dual carriageway road, up to a three-lane motorway, linking the two cities.
But it’s not just a road. The project is also designed to support urban development, with a proposed total of one million new houses overall. Oxfordshire’s share of that total would be more than 300,000 new houses, more than doubling the county’s current total housing stock of 280,000.
Where near Oxford will the expressway be located?
Chosen corridor ‘B’ is split into sub-option B1 going West of Oxford City and sub-option B3 going first South and then East of the city.
A route within B1 is likely mostly to follow the A34, from Abingdon to the M40, with a by-pass around the Botley ‘pinch-point’ involving the A420 Swindon to Oxford road (see below). At M40 J10 the expressway then goes South of Bicester town and then runs more or less parallel to East-West Rail.
A route within B3 will first come South of the City (running near Grenoble Road) and then head for the M40 J8A services, after which it may either follow the M40 for several kilometres to a new junction somewhere in the Oakley/Boarstall area, after which it heads NE towards Calvert/Twyford, or else it will run directly across country from the M40 J8A, again towards Calvert/Twyford.
ALL options are advisory only.
What happens next?
The several possible routes identified for the expressway will be made public in Autumn of 2019. We will be allowed to comment on each, and effectively vote for our favoured route (a process Highways England followed for the A27 Arundel bypass).
There then follows another year during which Highways England itself chooses a preferred route, which is due to be announced in Autumn 2020. We do not know what happens if the public vote does not coincide with Highways England’s preferred route.
Once the final route has been selected Highways England then submits all plans to the Planning Inspectorate. An officially appointed, independent Inspector will examine the plans, and will probably hold public hearings in which there is limited public participation. The entire process takes no more than 14 months, at the end of which the Inspector will make a recommendation to the Minister of State for Transport.