We are bringing together representatives across the region to discuss the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway and how it will enable sustainable development and economic growth. We understand that there are significant regional and local considerations that can influence how we develop the new road.
We will be exploring how we can balance better journeys, access to jobs, and a more connected country with the need to protect our environment and the places we love. We will be talking to MPs, local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, environmental bodies and businesses at this early stage.
Our first step is to establish the best potential corridor before looking at routes and locations for the new expressway. We expect to announce the decision on the corridor in Summer 2018.
Once we know the potential corridor we will provide everyone with the opportunity to get involved and help shape the final project. We will consult widely before making any decisions on the routeâ€™s location. We will then consult again, asking for your feedback on more detailed plans before we submit the planning application to build the scheme.
|Autumn 2017||Commitment by the Chancellor for construction to commence on the missing link before the end of the Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) in 2025|
|Summer 2018||Corridor announcement|
|2030||Road opens to the public|
Why we need this scheme
Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge are growing fast in a region renowned for innovation where there are plans for a substantial increase in jobs and housing. Yet, the east-west transport connections between these areas are notoriously poor with no single route to travel the 80 miles. Indeed, it is easier to travel into London from the three cities than go from one to the other with the shortest road route currently at least 108 miles. This creates a huge barrier and risk to future growth, while a housing shortfall is stifling further investment and is a major concern for the region.
The benefits of a new expressway
A new expressway would complement east-west rail and support the continued growth and attractiveness of the region as a place to live and work. This will support growth nationally as well as locally, providing better access to some of the worldâ€™s most important business and research institutions.
The expressway would create more job opportunities for those living locally while stimulating housing growth and reducing costs for businesses. It would also unlock new areas of growth in areas including Aylesbury Vale, Milton Keynes, Bedford, St Neots, Cambourne and Bourne Airfield as well as around the A428.
The case for a new expressway
Annual output along the Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford corridor could be Â£163 billion higher than in 2014 (twice the rate of growth than otherwise predicted). An additional 384,000 people are predicted to be brought within a 45-minute drive of Milton Keynes and 470,000 more within the Oxford Science Park, meaning greater job opportunities and business growth.
The Expressway will help tackle a 40% increase in travel demand, predicted for the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge corridor by 2035.
Once complete, the new road is expected to take 45 minutes off journeys between the south of Oxford and Cambridge and bring both cities to within a 45-minute drive of Milton Keynes.
The key objectives for the expressway are:
- Connectivity: provide an east-west strategic road link between Milton Keynes and Oxford that delivers enhanced connectivity through faster, safer and more reliable connections across the corridor in the broad arc from Oxford to Cambridge via Milton Keynes
- Strategic Transformation: support the creation of an integrated corridor between Oxford and Cambridge, reflecting and advancing plans for infrastructure, housing, business investment and development
- Economic Growth: unlock the economic potential in the corridor by facilitating strategic growth to the benefit of the UK economy through increased productivity, employment and housing, and maximising synergies with potential growth associated with east-west rail.
- Skills and Accessibility: promote accessibility and wider socio-economic benefits by improving access to job opportunities at key employment centres, developments, and at education, leisure, health, and retail facilities whilst creating wider employment opportunities
- Planning for the future: reduce the impact of new housing on local roads for communities and contribute to better safety, security and health whilst promoting sustainable transport modes
- Environment: to provide a healthy, natural environment, reducing congestion and supporting sustainable travel modes and promoting equality and opportunity
- Innovation: apply innovative technology wherever possible to support the sustainable planning, construction and operation of transport measures
The scheme in detail
The Oxford to Cambridge expressway project was one of six strategic studies which were commissioned as part of the Governmentâ€™s first Road Investment Strategy (RIS 1) in 2015, for delivery in 2020-25.
The study explores the potential to connect the three cities by developing a fast, high quality route, along a single corridor, including filling a 30-mile gap in the network between the M1 and M40 (â€˜missing strategic linkâ€™).
The Oxford to Cambridge study identified three broad corridors for the â€˜missing linkâ€™:
- Option A â€“ southern, via Aylesbury, linking to the M1 south of Milton Keynes
- Option B â€“ central, following the east-west rail corridor
- Option C â€“ northern, roughly following the existing A421 to the south of Bicester and via Buckingham to the east of Milton Keynes
With the help of a number of experts and representatives from local communities, environmental and heritage bodies, and technical specialists, we are currently exploring three potential geographical corridors and their suitability for the new expressway.
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