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Oxford to Cambridge Expressway

Where: Oxford - Cambridge via Milton Keynes
When: Anticipated completion is 2030
Summary: The project will aim to create a route linking Oxford and Cambridge via Milton Keynes. 
Status:
  • Three options have been proposed (northern option, southern option and central option)
Next Steps:
  • Highways England anticipate they will undergo public consultation on a route in autumn 2019
  • It is anticipated that the preferred route will then be announced in autumn 2020
  • Highways England have indicated that construction is expected to begin in 2025
  • Highways England have indicated that the road is expected to open in 2030

Background

The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway is a proposed road link between Oxford and Cambridge, via Milton Keynes. The government believes that the Oxford - Milton Keynes - Cambridge corridor is one of the most significant growth areas in the country.

The proposal aims to establish this route by linking existing roads and building new ones. The case for the ‘corridor’ is analysed in a Strategic Study for the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor, published by the National Infrastructure Commission in November 2016. 

The Oxford to Cambridge expressway strategic study is one of 6 strategic studies that will inform the development of the second phase of the Government’s Road investment Strategy (RIS 2).

 

What are the current options?

Three corridor options are currently being considered:

  • A northern option, roughly following the existing A421 to the south of Bicester and via Buckingham
  • A central option, broadly following the east-west rail corridor
  • A southern option near to Aylesbury, linking to the M1 south of Milton Keynes

 

Statistics

  • A new expressway could cut commuter journey times by up to 40%
  • The corridor connecting Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford, also known as the ‘Brain Belt’ could be the UK’s version Silicon Valley, a world renowned centre for science, technology and innovation
  • The expressway could enhance connectivity within the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Cambridge, Oxford, and London, while internationally helping to drive growth and investment in UK science and technology among other industries
  • The project could contribute £160 billion a year to the UK economy

 

 

Timeline

Highways England has already completed pre-project work, focusing on strategy, shaping and prioritisation. They are currently looking at identifying options for the corridor. Highways England anticipates that they will undergo public consultation on route in autumn 2019, before the preferred route is announced in autumn 2020.

Following this, Highways England will begin their ‘development phase’ and will apply for planning permission through the submission of a Development Consent Order (DCO) to the Secretary of State. Subject to planning consent, forecasted construction is set to begin as indicated by Highways England in 2025, before anticipated road opening in 2030.

 

Further information

Oxford to Cambridge Expressway Strategic Study: Stage 3 Report

National Infrastructure Commission Strategic Study for the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor

 

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