The Department for Transport (DfT) has commissioned a study worth £512,000 that will explore options into the potential for creating a dedicated road link between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Halcrow and Steer Davies Gleave have been appointed by Highways England as a joint venture to lead the study.
The study will consider options for improving connectivity between the towns and cities along from Oxford to Cambridge. It will also extend to the A34 as far as the M4. In particular, it will look at making use of existing roads where possible and consider the case for filling the missing links.
The strategic study is one of six studies taking place across England which are designed to address the biggest challenges facing the strategic road network.
The study consultants will review existing evidence and prepare a case to consider improving the links between Oxford and Cambridge. The study will look at some of the fastest growing towns in the area, housing growth and how improving the infrastructure can support the growth of these towns, bringing wider economic benefits.
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said: “Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under investment. That is why as part of our long-term economic plan we are investing a record £15 billion in our roads programme.
“Improved road links between Oxford and Cambridge will allow hard working families to have better access to jobs, shops and leisure facilities.”
Nigel Edwards, divisional director of strategic planning at Highways England, added: “This study could lead to major benefits across the UK and I’m pleased we’ve now reached the stage where we can appoint specialist companies to start the study process.”
An expressway could be created through improving the existing road network, however Highways England have some gaps, particularly between the M1 at Milton Keynes and the M40 near Oxford.
The study will also assess where the slow speeds and delays are currently being experienced and study the housing growth in the area which will subsequently increase traffic congestion. It is due to be completed by Autumn 2016.