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£3.5bn Ox-Cam Expressway plans scrapped

18 Mar 21 The government has cancelled the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway roadbuilding, deciding it is not worth the money.

Initial costs for a new road link were put at £3.5bn but subsequent work for Highways England has shown that it does not represent value for money.

The expressway was projected to take up to 40 minutes off the journey between the A34 south of Oxford and the M1 southeast of Milton Keynes.

The project was paused in March 2020 following completion of Highways England’s work into the costs and benefits of a number of route options for a new road between Oxford and Milton Keynes.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has today (18 March 2021) formally cancelled all plans for Oxford-Cambridge (Ox-Cam) expressway.

Consideration will now be given to more local road interventions between the two cities.

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Rail improvements remain in the works though. In January the government announced a £760m funding commitment for the next phase of East West Rail, to reinstate direct rail services between Bicester and Bletchley. 

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “The Oxford-Cambridge arc is home to cutting-edge research, globally renowned science and technology clusters and some of the most productive places in the country – we want to make sure it has transport fit for such an important region.

“Our analysis shows the expressway cannot deliver such links in a way that provides value for money for the taxpayer, so I have taken the decision to cancel the project.”

Highways ENgland said: "Through extensive analysis and local engagement, we developed and assessed the costs and benefits of a number of route options for the new the road link. Our work identified that there is not a cost-effective option for the taxpayer. Based on our findings, the government decided that further work cannot be justified on the expressway proposal and has therefore cancelled the project."

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