Oxford to Cambridge expresswayRecently updated

The Oxford to Cambridge expressway will secure the future of three of the most successful and productive cities in the country, creating an environment where communities and business can thrive with economic growth and better journeys.

Region:  East
Start date:  TBC
Cost:  TBC
Status:  PLANNED
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  TBC
Programme:  

Progress report

We were asked to explore the case for a fast, high-quality road link to better connect Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. This included filling the missing link, a 30 mile gap in the network between the M1 at Milton Keynes and the M40 at Oxford, including the development of new capacity at Oxford to relieve pressure on the A34.

We have been working with stakeholders and partners on the first phase of the project, using analytical and evidence-based reviews to understand which of the proposed corridors should be taken forward for further development.

Following technical analysis and stakeholder engagement, Corridor B has been identified as the best performing option. This will deliver better benefits for the region as it out-performs Corridor A and C in supporting strategic transformational growth, regeneration and redevelopment.

We have rejected Corridor B2, whilst it offers similar benefits at a similar predicted cost to B3, the environmental impacts around the Horspath and Wheatley areas are substantially more difficult to overcome. There are also a number of significant constraints as the corridor heads north toward Bicester, including Otmoor Nature Reserve.

We will be developing viable route options for Corridor B1 and B3 (see description below) for public consultation next year:

  • Corridor B1 – a central corridor broadly aligned with the proposed East-West Rail route from Abingdon to south Milton Keynes via Winslow. This option passes to the west of Oxford
  • Corridor B3 – a central corridor broadly aligned with the proposed East-West Rail route from Abingdon to south Milton Keynes via Winslow. This option passes to the south east of Oxford.

You can find out more information about our findings and assessment in our Oxford to Cambridge Overview booklet.

You can see the area for the development of route options in our map.

What's next?

Now we have established the corridor we will provide everyone with the opportunity to get involved and help shape the final project. In the next stage we will continue to engage a wide group of stakeholders to help us identify all the information we require in order to shortlist viable routes. We will consult widely before making any decisions on the route’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.

Timeline

Date Event
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
2018 Corridor announcement
Autumn 2019 Public consultation on route options*
2020 Preferred route announcement*
2025 Construction starts*
2030 New link opens to the public

*Indicative timetable, subject to preferred route options.

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. 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 high quality link

A new high quality link road would complement East-West Rail and provide better opportunities for 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 world’s most important business and research institutions.

The high quality link road 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 high quality link

The most direct route linking Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge from the M4 to the M11 is of variable standard and quality which affects journey times, reliability and safety. Traffic flows are forecast to increase by 32 to 40% by 2035 and in the absence of transport improvements, congestion along the corridor is expected to become worse.

The National Infrastructure Commission report ‘Partnering for Prosperity’ in November 2017 said that the annual output along the Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford corridor could be £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.

Once complete, the new road is expected to take up to 40 minutes off journeys between the M4 and the M1, bringing Oxford and Cambridge both cities to within a 45-minute drive of Milton Keynes.

Take a look at our at-a-glance summary.

Aims

The key objectives for the high quality link 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 Government’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 (‘missing strategic link’).

The Oxford to Cambridge study identified three broad corridors for the ‘missing link’. These are outlined in detail in the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway Corridor Assessment Report.

With the help of a number of experts and representatives from local communities, environmental and heritage bodies, and technical specialists, we have now identified the best performing corridors to take forward for detailed route analysis over the 12 months to summer 2019.

Two corridors in the central option B, which is broadly aligned with the proposed East-West Rail route starting at Abingdon and linking Oxford to the south of Milton Keynes via Winslow, will be taken forward:

  • Corridor B1 - This option passes to the west of Oxford
  • Corridor B3 - This option passes to the east of Oxford

Map of preferred corridors

Preferred Corridor Booklet

Project media files and documents

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Project timeline

Planned roadworks

Roadworks and Events for England

The latest incident information for England's motorway and trunk routes provided by Highways England

Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J13 and J15A . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 23:20 on 24 September 2018 to 06:00 on 9 October 2018.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 7:02 am
Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J13 and J14 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 21:00 on 24 September 2018 to 05:00 on 1 March 2022.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 7:01 am
Location : The M1 northbound entry slip at junction J14 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 5 October 2018 to 06:00 on 6 October 2018. Schedule : From 21:00 on 6 October 2018 to 05:00 on 7 October 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 7 October 2018 to 9 October 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 5:02 am
Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J13 and J14 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 27 September 2018 to 29 September 2018. Schedule : From 22:00 on 29 September 2018 to 05:00 on 30 September 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 30 September 2018 to 5 October 2018. Schedule : From 21:00 on 5 October 2018 to 05:00 on 6 October 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 5:02 am
Location : The A5 southbound between the junctions with the A508 and the A422 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 25 September 2018 to 29 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 5:01 am
Location : The A5 northbound between the junctions with the A422 and the A508 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Emergency barrier repairs are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 20:00 and 06:00 from 25 September 2018 to 29 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 5:01 am
Location : The M1 southbound between junctions J14 and J13 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 27 September 2018 to 5 October 2018. Schedule : From 21:00 on 5 October 2018 to 05:00 on 6 October 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 6 October 2018 to 15 October 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 4:02 am
Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J12 and J13 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 25 September 2018 to 28 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 4:01 am
Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J12 and J13 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 1 October 2018 to 5 October 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 8 October 2018 to 12 October 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be two of three lanes closed.
Posted: September 24, 2018, 9:11 pm
Location : The M1 southbound between junctions J14 and J13 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 21:00 on 24 September 2018 to 05:00 on 1 March 2022.
Posted: September 24, 2018, 8:01 pm
Location : The M1 southbound between junctions J14 and J13 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 25 September 2018 to 27 September 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 15 October 2018 to 20 October 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 22 October 2018 to 27 October 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 29 October 2018 to 3 November 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: September 24, 2018, 11:42 am
Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J13 and J14 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 25 September 2018 to 27 September 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 15 October 2018 to 20 October 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 22 October 2018 to 27 October 2018. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 22:00 and 05:00 from 29 October 2018 to 3 November 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of three lanes closed.
Posted: September 24, 2018, 11:42 am
Location : The M1 northbound entry slip at junction J14 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 21:00 and 06:00 from 25 September 2018 to 29 September 2018. Lanes Closed : All lanes will be closed.
Posted: September 24, 2018, 11:42 am
Location : The M1 southbound between junctions J11 and J10 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadside equipment maintenance is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 27 September 2018 to 06:00 on 28 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be two of four lanes closed.
Posted: September 22, 2018, 12:15 pm
Location : The M1 southbound at junction J11 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadside equipment maintenance is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 25 September 2018 to 06:00 on 26 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be three of four lanes closed.
Posted: September 22, 2018, 12:15 pm
Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J14 and J15 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:00 on 1 October 2018 to 16:00 on 1 October 2018.
Posted: September 22, 2018, 12:15 pm
Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J10 and J11 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadside equipment maintenance is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 26 September 2018 to 06:00 on 27 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be three of four lanes closed.
Posted: September 22, 2018, 12:15 pm
Location : The M1 northbound between junctions J10 and J11 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1 and 2 will be closed. Reason : Roadside equipment maintenance is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 27 September 2018 to 06:00 on 28 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be two of four lanes closed.
Posted: September 22, 2018, 12:15 pm
Location : The M1 southbound between junctions J11 and J10 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadside equipment maintenance is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 25 September 2018 to 06:00 on 26 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be three of four lanes closed.
Posted: September 22, 2018, 12:15 pm
Location : The M1 southbound between junctions J11A and J11 . Lane Closures : Lanes 1, 2 and 3 will be closed. Reason : Roadside equipment maintenance is planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 21:00 on 25 September 2018 to 06:00 on 26 September 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be three of four lanes closed.
Posted: September 22, 2018, 12:15 pm

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The A14 J31 westbound link road to the A14 westbound is closed due to an incident.
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 am

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