Highways England has appointed a joint venture to lead a £500,000 study into the potential for a dedicated road link between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.
WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Halcrow and Steer Davies Gleave with jointly lead the research, which will look at connections to communities near the three areas as well as the A34 as far as the M4.
Road minister Andrew Jones said: ‘Roads are key to our nation’s prosperity. For too long they have suffered from under investment. That is why as part of our long-term economic plan we are investing a record £15bn in our roads programme.
‘Improved road links between Oxford and Cambridge will allow hardworking families to have better access to jobs, shops and leisure facilities.’
The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway concept could build on the existing network, Department for Transport (DfT) officials said, although they warned there are ‘gaps, particularly between the M1 at Milton Keynes and the M40 near Oxford’.
The research would also assess where the slow speeds and delays are and consider the impact of housing growth in the area on traffic congestion. It is due to be completed by Autumn 2016.
Nigel Edwards, divisional director of strategic planning at Highways England, said: ‘This study could lead to major benefits across the UK and I’m pleased we’ve now reached the stage where we can appoint specialist companies to start the study process.’
Commissioned by the DfT, the strategic study is part of a suite of six such research projects, four of which have now been awarded.