Oxford to Cambridge expressway

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Project update, 12 March 2020 

The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is already home to some of the most productive towns and cities in the country. The Government’s ambition is for further growth within the Arc that will help make it a world class economic hub, and delivering the right infrastructure is vital to support this.

The Government has investigated the potential for a new high-quality link road between the M1 and M40 which could support this growth and examined the costs and benefits of a range of options, taking account of the views of local authorities and residents in the Arc.

We are now pausing further development of the scheme while we undertake further work on other potential road projects that could support the Government’s ambition for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, and benefit people who live and work there, including exploring opportunities to alleviate congestion around the Arc’s major economic centres such as Milton Keynes.

We will work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and local partners on the proposed Spatial Framework to identify the role transport can play alongside the proposed economic and housing growth ambitions for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

Developing the Oxford to Milton Keynes road link

We’re developing proposals for a new road link between the M40 at Oxford and the M1 at Milton Keynes.

The most direct route that links Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge from the M4 to the M11 is a poor standard, affecting journey times, reliability and safety. The project will directly improve people’s lives for decades to come by delivering faster and more reliable journeys, increasing opportunities for economic growth and new homes.

We want this road to make people’s lives better – by connecting people and businesses across the region.



Economic growth

Helping to unlock new opportunities for economic growth




Reducing journey times from Abingdon to Milton Keynes by up to 40 minutes




                 Connecting communities and providing improved access to jobs and services


Where could the new road link go?



In 2014, a strategic study was announced by the government to explore opportunities to create better east-west links between Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes, to unlock growth and ensure communities and businesses thrive in the future.

Since then, our assessments for a new road link between Oxford and Milton Keynes have passed several key milestones.

The Secretary of State made a decision in 2018 on the location of the ‘preferred corridor’ for the new road link. The two corridors selected are named ‘B1’ and ‘B3’ and are shown on the map below. The corridors are large areas where we’re doing further analysis and engagement to develop route options.

Preferred corridor and common corridors

What is happening now?

We’re working to deliver a non-statutory public consultation on the expressway, in a way that works collaboratively with other plans for the wider Oxford, Cambridge arc.We’ll consult on potential route options within the preferred corridor (please see the diagram above) and will be looking for people’s views on key design elements, including where junctions could be located, environmental considerations and buildability, among other factors and alternatives.

Preferred corridor and common corridors
(indicative only)



B1 corridor B3 corridor Common corridor

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