Improvements to Junction 10 of the M40 near Bicester are to receive a share of £217 million in government cash, it was announced last week.
Transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, said the junction would be one of 57 projects across the country to receive funding from the Highways Agency to be spent on ‘boosting the economy, reducing congestion and improving safety.’
The junction improvements, which are due to start in 2014, will cost around £1.3million and will involve replacing the current southbound entry slip road from Padbury roundabout with a new slip road from the Cherwell roundabout, which will have a modified design.
The A43 southbound will then be widened and realigned to pass through the centre of the roundabout and new traffic signals will be installed.
The improvements are designed to support the Bicester eco-town and improve links with Silverstone and Brackley.
In July this year, Junction 9 of the M40 was made part of the £217 million programme of improvements, in a bid to fight severe congestion at the junction, particularly during peak times.
MP for Bicester, Sir Tony Baldry, has welcomed the news, saying the junction experienced severe congestion, particularly during peak hours with queues regularly forming onto the M40 main carriageway
He said: “Both Junctions 9 and 10 have always been something of a nightmare.
“The Government has already announced a significant chunk of money to improve and reconfigure Junction 9 and I am very pleased that the Secretary of State for Transport has been able to find some money to help improve traffic flows at Junction 10 as well.”
The news was also welcomed by Ardley with Fewcott parish councillor, John Lewis, who said the changes could not come soon enough.
He said: “This badly designed junction, which requires north and southbound traffic to cross each other, has been a congestion hazard and the cause of local nuisance since the day it was opened.
“There are many occasions, particularly on Friday evenings and when there are frequent incidents between J9 and J10 on the motorway itself, when traffic is queued back all the way through Ardley with Fewcott meaning that residents cannot get out of side roads and even their own drives because of a solid backlog of traffic, which itself is suffering delays and causing frustration to the drivers.
“And that is not to mention the hazards created by traffic exiting northbound that is queued back onto the motorway because the roundabouts are all blocked solid, which from my own experience is quite frightening.
“Let’s hope that this time the Highways Agency has got it right and redesigned the junction for traffic efficiency and not down to a cost.”
But Jon O’Neill, Ardley resident and Cherwell district councillor for Caversfield, which includes the junction, said although he was pleased the Highways Agency had recognised the junction needed work, £1.3 million was not enough.
He said: “I am not an engineer but those I have spoken to all say the junction is and always has been completely flawed and is not fit for purpose – £1.3 million doesn’t sound like a lot of money to make the substantial changes the junction appears to need to deal with all the traffic.”
He added if Bicester wanted to attract state-of-the-art businesses from the technology, manufacturing, engineering and development sectors then there needed to be a closer look at the transport links serving the town, including Junctions 9 and 10 of the M40.
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