The ‘biggest step forward in decades’ has been made towards finding a ‘final fix’ for the problematic A40.
Witney MP Robert Courts hailed the progression of a major funding bid as ‘extremely welcome news’.
The government announced last week that a bid for £135million in A40 improvement cash had advanced to the next phase.
Funds would be used to create a dual carriageway from Witney to Eynsham, where there will be a new park and ride connected to Oxford, with priority bus lanes. The rapid transit network would also facilitate the proposed garden village near Eynsham.
Mr Courts, who recently spoke in Parliament to stress the ‘desperate’ need for infrastructure before houses are built in the district, welcomed the announcement.
“This is extremely welcome news, the biggest step forward for the A40 in 20 years,” the Conservative said.
“It shows the government is listening to west Oxfordshire and shares our strong desire to find a final fix for the A40.”
The bid is part of the £2.3bn Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) which offers funding to local authorities to build the infrastructure needed to support up to 100,000 new homes across Oxfordshire.
The next stage of this process is to develop the bid further to create a strong business case before a final decision is made in the autumn.
Mr Courts added: “For decades the A40 has caused daily misery for many, stuck in hours of traffic, and is stopping our area from flourishing.
“This could be the biggest step forward towards fixing the A40 in decades…and I am excited for the real benefits this funding will bring.”
Councillor Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, called it a ‘big boost for west Oxfordshire’, having worked with Mr Courts to put the bid together and to lobby government.
The Woodstock representative said: “There has been talk for many years about improving the A40. Oxfordshire County Council has a plan and now the government is showing it is rightly confident that the council can deliver the improvement to the A40.
Campaign group Witney Oxford Transport (WOT) said it welcomes ‘in principle’ additional funding towards the ‘much neglected infrastructure’ but added the money should be used towards ‘imaginative projects’ including ‘sustainable and affordable housing’.
A WOT spokesperson added: “We are opposed to stopgap projects based on simply widening roads and junctions to alleviate past planning mistakes, as these approaches simply create more congestion.”