You’d better get used to it: Motorists to face months of delays

The A34 southbound traffic grinds to a halt around Hinksey. Drivers heading northbound faced even longer delays yesterday morning.  Picture: Richard Cave

The A34 southbound traffic grinds to a halt around Hinksey. Drivers heading northbound faced even longer delays yesterday morning. Picture: Richard Cave Buy this photo

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Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

MORE than 60,000 motorists may face three months of misery, after roundabout schemes entered their latest phase.

Commuters yesterday faced queues stretching nine miles from Oxford as far south as Milton on the A34, as cars sat gridlocked during the morning rush hour.

It came after Oxfordshire County Council warned that residents should expect “severe delays”, while it continued improvement works to the Hinksey Hill and Kennington roundabouts.

The second part of that work started on Sunday, with a 24-hour contraflow system introduced between Hinksey Hill Interchange and Heyford Hill Interchange.

The work – which it is ultimately hoped will reduce congestion in the area – is expected to last until November, the council said.

But journey times were hit with longer delays than many expected.

Kimberley Moody, 21, said her journey from Bosleys Orchard, in Grove, to Oxford, took three hours and 20 minutes.

The county council customer service adviser said: “It was a complete nightmare.

“I work from home twice a week, so may consider increasing this now, and have also thought about getting the train from Didcot.”

Other drivers coming from South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse saw huge delays.

Normal journey times of 20 to 25 minutes from Abingdon were taking between one and a quarter to two hours in some cases.

Standlake commuter Layla Mirmalek, 33, said a usually brief 25-minute journey up the A34 from Milton to Marcham was dragged out to 45 minutes.

Ms Mirmalek, who works at Aurora Fashion, said: “I was very late for work. I stay at my sister’s house in Didcot sometimes and so I was travelling to work in Stanton Harcourt. 

“But as soon as I drove up the slip road you could see the traffic jamming at the top of it. I stayed in the left-hand lane the whole time because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get to the exit I needed otherwise.” 

Alongside cars and larger vehicles, the bus companies confirmed their services were also heavily affected by the congestion. 

Oxford Bus Company’s X13, 13 and X3 services were all delayed, as well as Stagecoach’s 3, 12, 16, X30, 31 and 34 services. 

Oxfordshire Town Chamber Network director Keith Slater said the delays were likely to impact workers more than businesses. 

He said: “This will, of course, have a considerable impact on workers, as well as goods vehicles travelling around the county. 

“The main problem with these schemes when they first start is that people do not realise they are happening. Eventually after the first two weeks or so, the tailbacks should reduce as people start to plan ahead more and the peak times get spread out. 

“Businesses will complain about this and have to find ways around it, but ultimately it is workers who will have to give up more free time to leave earlier or sit in traffic.” 

The £6m improvement works at Kennington Roundabout will see it converted into a ‘hamburger’-style junction. 

A new carriageway for eastbound traffic will go through the central island while, at Hinksey Hill, a new slip road from the southbound carriageway of the Southern Bypass will be created on to the A34.

That will be widened to have a lane with no traffic lights, set to open tomorrow, which council officials say may ease some congestion.

The junction is estimated to carry more than 60,000 vehicles a day. 
County council deputy leader Rodney Rose said he expected the situation to improve in the coming days. 

Oxford Mail:

County council deputy leader Rodney Rose

Mr Rose said: “The first few days of any roadworks are always the worst, and I expect that drivers will start to plan their journeys around the route and take other forms of transport. 

“What we are doing now will mean a far better journey for people in the long term and that we will not see these kind of delays in the future as our roads carry more and more traffic.” 

Speaking on Thursday ahead of the work, county council member for transport, David Nimmo-Smith, said: “We have to deal with it and it won’t be easy.” 

He did not respond to the Oxford Mail’s request for a comment yesterday.

TRAVEL ADVICE

THE county council has told drivers that although it is monitoring the situation around the Hinksey Hill and Kennington roundabouts, there was not much it can do. 

It has instead advised people to plan ahead and allow more times for their journeys. 

But deputy leader Rodney Rose said that a newly-expanded southbound slip road from the Southern Bypass on to the A34 is expected to help. 

He said: “The works are being constantly monitored and active management of traffic signals is taking place. 

“Of course, there is only so much that can be achieved through this sort of measure. The best advice is to plan your journeys ahead.” 

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Comments (22)

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9:24am Tue 29 Jul 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

"Mr Rose said: “The first few days of any roadworks are always the worst, and I expect that drivers will start to plan their journeys around the route and take other forms of transport."........
.......pompous prat! So because the county council couldn't organise the proverbial p!ss up in a brewery, the people who pay their wages have to think for them.
"Mr Rose said: “The first few days of any roadworks are always the worst, and I expect that drivers will start to plan their journeys around the route and take other forms of transport."........ .......pompous prat! So because the county council couldn't organise the proverbial p!ss up in a brewery, the people who pay their wages have to think for them. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: -4

9:35am Tue 29 Jul 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

Bet he has a lovely view of it from his aircon'd limo
Bet he has a lovely view of it from his aircon'd limo yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 15

9:44am Tue 29 Jul 14

wolvercoter says...

So what will it be like when the alterations to Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts take place and when the Northern gateway is being built and is contributing with the traffic to and from
500 homes, plus industrial site plus shops and hotels to the holdups at Peartree ? The council is going ahead with it WITHOUT making sure a relief link road is built first.
So what will it be like when the alterations to Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts take place and when the Northern gateway is being built and is contributing with the traffic to and from 500 homes, plus industrial site plus shops and hotels to the holdups at Peartree ? The council is going ahead with it WITHOUT making sure a relief link road is built first. wolvercoter
  • Score: 16

10:11am Tue 29 Jul 14

OxfordRob says...

From Faringdon the suggested route the Oxfordshire Council travel guide gave was even more gridlocked today coming through Abingdon and Clifton hampden. This rubbish of finding alternatives or using public transport. For a lot of people this is just not possible to do and Faringdon is too far to cycle and dangerous along the A420 to do so.

One are that could definitely help is yellow boxes up the entrances to Hinskey hill roundabout and police or cameras taking action. If people obeyed the rules of the road and stopped at red lights and not go unless clear to proceed then all lanes have a fighting chance of getting through.

God help us when Schools runs are back on the agenda.
From Faringdon the suggested route the Oxfordshire Council travel guide gave was even more gridlocked today coming through Abingdon and Clifton hampden. This rubbish of finding alternatives or using public transport. For a lot of people this is just not possible to do and Faringdon is too far to cycle and dangerous along the A420 to do so. One are that could definitely help is yellow boxes up the entrances to Hinskey hill roundabout and police or cameras taking action. If people obeyed the rules of the road and stopped at red lights and not go unless clear to proceed then all lanes have a fighting chance of getting through. God help us when Schools runs are back on the agenda. OxfordRob
  • Score: 18

10:11am Tue 29 Jul 14

docs says...

wolvercoter wrote:
So what will it be like when the alterations to Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts take place and when the Northern gateway is being built and is contributing with the traffic to and from
500 homes, plus industrial site plus shops and hotels to the holdups at Peartree ? The council is going ahead with it WITHOUT making sure a relief link road is built first.
Don't forget the sheer joy that's going to be the re-modelling of Frideswide Square, due to start long before the southern bypass is finished.
[quote][p][bold]wolvercoter[/bold] wrote: So what will it be like when the alterations to Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts take place and when the Northern gateway is being built and is contributing with the traffic to and from 500 homes, plus industrial site plus shops and hotels to the holdups at Peartree ? The council is going ahead with it WITHOUT making sure a relief link road is built first.[/p][/quote]Don't forget the sheer joy that's going to be the re-modelling of Frideswide Square, due to start long before the southern bypass is finished. docs
  • Score: 20

11:35am Tue 29 Jul 14

Will.S says...

“Businesses will complain about this and have to find ways around it, but ultimately it is workers who will have to give up more free time to leave earlier or sit in traffic.”
Well, we get value for money on Council arrogance that’s for sure!
We pay over the national average in Council tax for this?
It’s time to admit we have a flawed set of local representatives. Political colours don’t matter, they all seem incapable. This is a council that puts policy before people.

They botched public service cuts without standing up to government and defending us first.
They don’t use joined up thinking with road works and place the onus on us, the people who employ them.
They are in the palm of developers and will build, build, build without setting in place schools and roads to alleviate the serious pressure they obviously don’t give a **** about putting the public under.
Your quality of life, traffic jams and overcrowding is of no concern to them. They are well heeled and often don’t suffer the outcome of their own policies. They are paid whether they succeed or not. Are you? The council don’t seem to be in the business of representing you and me and Rodney Rose is the best we can do? I don’t think so Oxfordshire. Do you?
Oxfordshire deserves better.
“Businesses will complain about this and have to find ways around it, but ultimately it is workers who will have to give up more free time to leave earlier or sit in traffic.” Well, we get value for money on Council arrogance that’s for sure! We pay over the national average in Council tax for this? It’s time to admit we have a flawed set of local representatives. Political colours don’t matter, they all seem incapable. This is a council that puts policy before people. They botched public service cuts without standing up to government and defending us first. They don’t use joined up thinking with road works and place the onus on us, the people who employ them. They are in the palm of developers and will build, build, build without setting in place schools and roads to alleviate the serious pressure they obviously don’t give a **** about putting the public under. Your quality of life, traffic jams and overcrowding is of no concern to them. They are well heeled and often don’t suffer the outcome of their own policies. They are paid whether they succeed or not. Are you? The council don’t seem to be in the business of representing you and me and Rodney Rose is the best we can do? I don’t think so Oxfordshire. Do you? Oxfordshire deserves better. Will.S
  • Score: 37

1:05pm Tue 29 Jul 14

IS says...

The questions that need to be answered include finding out whether the council used software like this to cost the delays:

https://www.trlsoftw
are.co.uk/products/e
conomic_appraisal/qu
adro

and how much work did it take to open up the slip road between yesterday and today? Could that have been done on Sunday when no work was taking place?

What's going to happen when the closures are in place on road between Botley and Farmoor?

I like the idea of yellow boxes on the Hinksey Hill roundabout - Oxford Rob - then I might be able to get off the hill and onto the A34 north. One day last week it took 4 changes of the lights to get from the junction onto the slip road, partly because of a lorry across the junction. Even at £50 an hour a policeman would be cost effective!
The questions that need to be answered include finding out whether the council used software like this to cost the delays: https://www.trlsoftw are.co.uk/products/e conomic_appraisal/qu adro and how much work did it take to open up the slip road between yesterday and today? Could that have been done on Sunday when no work was taking place? What's going to happen when the closures are in place on road between Botley and Farmoor? I like the idea of yellow boxes on the Hinksey Hill roundabout - Oxford Rob - then I might be able to get off the hill and onto the A34 north. One day last week it took 4 changes of the lights to get from the junction onto the slip road, partly because of a lorry across the junction. Even at £50 an hour a policeman would be cost effective! IS
  • Score: 5

6:13pm Tue 29 Jul 14

oafie says...

Oh dear Wolvercoter- this story is not about you and the northern gateway which is an entirely different issue and it is about time the north of the city experienced the same level of development that has occurred elsewhere around the city.

As for Oxon County Council-they really are a shambolic disgrace and it is about time the authority was disbanded.
Oh dear Wolvercoter- this story is not about you and the northern gateway which is an entirely different issue and it is about time the north of the city experienced the same level of development that has occurred elsewhere around the city. As for Oxon County Council-they really are a shambolic disgrace and it is about time the authority was disbanded. oafie
  • Score: 5

6:57pm Tue 29 Jul 14

kiddyboy says...

wolvercoter wrote:
So what will it be like when the alterations to Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts take place and when the Northern gateway is being built and is contributing with the traffic to and from
500 homes, plus industrial site plus shops and hotels to the holdups at Peartree ? The council is going ahead with it WITHOUT making sure a relief link road is built first.
No worries.........they will have shifts as there are no Gyppos to disturb
[quote][p][bold]wolvercoter[/bold] wrote: So what will it be like when the alterations to Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabouts take place and when the Northern gateway is being built and is contributing with the traffic to and from 500 homes, plus industrial site plus shops and hotels to the holdups at Peartree ? The council is going ahead with it WITHOUT making sure a relief link road is built first.[/p][/quote]No worries.........they will have shifts as there are no Gyppos to disturb kiddyboy
  • Score: -1

8:31pm Tue 29 Jul 14

Kropotkin says...

I would be interested to know if the County Council has done a cost-benefit on this. If the disruption lasts for 4 months someone who commutes every day may spend 45 hours (estimated) in a queue over that period. How many minutes will be shaved off the average commute on this route after the works are completed? One? Two? How many years will it be before it balances out? At a time when we are told the County Council has no money and has to cut libraries and youth services I am amazed they have the funds for this.
I would be interested to know if the County Council has done a cost-benefit on this. If the disruption lasts for 4 months someone who commutes every day may spend 45 hours (estimated) in a queue over that period. How many minutes will be shaved off the average commute on this route after the works are completed? One? Two? How many years will it be before it balances out? At a time when we are told the County Council has no money and has to cut libraries and youth services I am amazed they have the funds for this. Kropotkin
  • Score: 7

8:30am Wed 30 Jul 14

IS says...

Kropotkin wrote:
I would be interested to know if the County Council has done a cost-benefit on this. If the disruption lasts for 4 months someone who commutes every day may spend 45 hours (estimated) in a queue over that period. How many minutes will be shaved off the average commute on this route after the works are completed? One? Two? How many years will it be before it balances out? At a time when we are told the County Council has no money and has to cut libraries and youth services I am amazed they have the funds for this.
Precisely.
As mentioned earlier in the week, parents with children in nursery will either have to pay for longer periods of care or work shorter hours in order to allow for the time it will take, bearing in mind that many nurseries charge parents £5 if they are 5 minutes late.
Costs would include the disruption to the hospitals for a start - both in terms of staff arriving late and patients arriving late for appointments.
As provision for cyclists and pedestrians in the redesigned system was carried out seemingly by someone who had only looked at a map and not visited the area I doubt that a cost-benefit exercise had even occurred to them. Thank goodness Councillor Sanders (today's Oxford Mail) has asked some of the pertinent questions.
[quote][p][bold]Kropotkin[/bold] wrote: I would be interested to know if the County Council has done a cost-benefit on this. If the disruption lasts for 4 months someone who commutes every day may spend 45 hours (estimated) in a queue over that period. How many minutes will be shaved off the average commute on this route after the works are completed? One? Two? How many years will it be before it balances out? At a time when we are told the County Council has no money and has to cut libraries and youth services I am amazed they have the funds for this.[/p][/quote]Precisely. As mentioned earlier in the week, parents with children in nursery will either have to pay for longer periods of care or work shorter hours in order to allow for the time it will take, bearing in mind that many nurseries charge parents £5 if they are 5 minutes late. Costs would include the disruption to the hospitals for a start - both in terms of staff arriving late and patients arriving late for appointments. As provision for cyclists and pedestrians in the redesigned system was carried out seemingly by someone who had only looked at a map and not visited the area I doubt that a cost-benefit exercise had even occurred to them. Thank goodness Councillor Sanders (today's Oxford Mail) has asked some of the pertinent questions. IS
  • Score: 4

10:57am Wed 30 Jul 14

Oxonian says...

Another ****-up from the County Council's "traffic planners" - a misnomer if ever I heard one.
Another ****-up from the County Council's "traffic planners" - a misnomer if ever I heard one. Oxonian
  • Score: 6

11:18am Wed 30 Jul 14

livid99 says...

Oxonian wrote:
Another ****-up from the County Council's "traffic planners" - a misnomer if ever I heard one.
Third world countries can plan their traffic better than Oxford County Council....its a joke that the roads into one of the most popular tourist cities in the UK can be such a shambles.
Probably a lot of tourists who will be visiting this summer will just think " **** this, I'll go somewhere else next time"......and who would blame them !
[quote][p][bold]Oxonian[/bold] wrote: Another ****-up from the County Council's "traffic planners" - a misnomer if ever I heard one.[/p][/quote]Third world countries can plan their traffic better than Oxford County Council....its a joke that the roads into one of the most popular tourist cities in the UK can be such a shambles. Probably a lot of tourists who will be visiting this summer will just think " **** this, I'll go somewhere else next time"......and who would blame them ! livid99
  • Score: 7

6:00pm Wed 30 Jul 14

EMBOX2 says...

I love the fact that the reason this work cannot be done overnight is that the people who have complained about the noise are, for the most part, the non-taxpaying, law disobeying "travellers" (who are remarkably static) at Redbridge Hollow.

Why can we not do as the Germans do? Get as many people on the job for as long as is necessary. You will never see roadworks in Germany with nothing being done, at any time of day. They just keep going until the work is done.

I guess OCC loves causing traffic mayhem...
I love the fact that the reason this work cannot be done overnight is that the people who have complained about the noise are, for the most part, the non-taxpaying, law disobeying "travellers" (who are remarkably static) at Redbridge Hollow. Why can we not do as the Germans do? Get as many people on the job for as long as is necessary. You will never see roadworks in Germany with nothing being done, at any time of day. They just keep going until the work is done. I guess OCC loves causing traffic mayhem... EMBOX2
  • Score: 9

6:45pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Adrian1 says...

There is a lot to be said for the German system of shifts of workers all the time, in itself it lends itself to forcing better planning. The whole thing is done in quarter of the time. I guess we're down to the cheapest bidder bit with no strategic vision on the effect to the whole, but that's alright 'cos it's not my budget.
There is a lot to be said for the German system of shifts of workers all the time, in itself it lends itself to forcing better planning. The whole thing is done in quarter of the time. I guess we're down to the cheapest bidder bit with no strategic vision on the effect to the whole, but that's alright 'cos it's not my budget. Adrian1
  • Score: 4

1:19am Thu 31 Jul 14

unhappy shopper says...

why is it that in any other country in Europe these road works would be worked on 24/7 and completed in 4 weeks but here in good old rip off Britain it takes four months of disruption and we only work 6 hours a day and then we wonder why the town centres in this country are going to the ruins I put it to you its because there run my prats like him
why is it that in any other country in Europe these road works would be worked on 24/7 and completed in 4 weeks but here in good old rip off Britain it takes four months of disruption and we only work 6 hours a day and then we wonder why the town centres in this country are going to the ruins I put it to you its because there run my prats like him unhappy shopper
  • Score: 8

6:26am Thu 31 Jul 14

the wizard says...

OCC + Hudspeth + Rose = THEY ARE NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

Hudspeth cannot be easily removed but surely at the next elections it is time for some tactical voting to remove these people from office.

Useless, inept, clueless just doesn't come close, and as for progressing with Northern Gateway without solving existing problems first is just laughable, who let these people out of the asylum ?????
OCC + Hudspeth + Rose = THEY ARE NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE. Hudspeth cannot be easily removed but surely at the next elections it is time for some tactical voting to remove these people from office. Useless, inept, clueless just doesn't come close, and as for progressing with Northern Gateway without solving existing problems first is just laughable, who let these people out of the asylum ????? the wizard
  • Score: 10

2:41pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Sarah_Oxf says...

Its just been discovered, the real reason the council won't work throughout the night to get the work done quicker is because the travellers at Redbridge complained the noise would affect them.......

Seriously, you couldn't make it up!
Its just been discovered, the real reason the council won't work throughout the night to get the work done quicker is because the travellers at Redbridge complained the noise would affect them....... Seriously, you couldn't make it up! Sarah_Oxf
  • Score: 5

3:17pm Thu 31 Jul 14

The New Private Eye says...

the wizard wrote:
OCC + Hudspeth + Rose = THEY ARE NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE.

Hudspeth cannot be easily removed but surely at the next elections it is time for some tactical voting to remove these people from office.

Useless, inept, clueless just doesn't come close, and as for progressing with Northern Gateway without solving existing problems first is just laughable, who let these people out of the asylum ?????
The BNP have got more chance of forming the next Government, than Hudspeth and his Tories being voted out of power in Oxfordshire.
[quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: OCC + Hudspeth + Rose = THEY ARE NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE. Hudspeth cannot be easily removed but surely at the next elections it is time for some tactical voting to remove these people from office. Useless, inept, clueless just doesn't come close, and as for progressing with Northern Gateway without solving existing problems first is just laughable, who let these people out of the asylum ?????[/p][/quote]The BNP have got more chance of forming the next Government, than Hudspeth and his Tories being voted out of power in Oxfordshire. The New Private Eye
  • Score: 0

3:34pm Thu 31 Jul 14

livid99 says...

Sarah_Oxf wrote:
Its just been discovered, the real reason the council won't work throughout the night to get the work done quicker is because the travellers at Redbridge complained the noise would affect them.......

Seriously, you couldn't make it up!
Unfortunately, this is what "Great" Britain has become.
[quote][p][bold]Sarah_Oxf[/bold] wrote: Its just been discovered, the real reason the council won't work throughout the night to get the work done quicker is because the travellers at Redbridge complained the noise would affect them....... Seriously, you couldn't make it up![/p][/quote]Unfortunately, this is what "Great" Britain has become. livid99
  • Score: 7

11:00pm Thu 31 Jul 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

livid99 wrote:
Sarah_Oxf wrote:
Its just been discovered, the real reason the council won't work throughout the night to get the work done quicker is because the travellers at Redbridge complained the noise would affect them.......

Seriously, you couldn't make it up!
Unfortunately, this is what "Great" Britain has become.
Well perhaps the "Travellers" should travel somewhere else then, they shouldn't be called travellers if they take up permanent residence....the expression "like it, or lump it" springs to mind...
[quote][p][bold]livid99[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sarah_Oxf[/bold] wrote: Its just been discovered, the real reason the council won't work throughout the night to get the work done quicker is because the travellers at Redbridge complained the noise would affect them....... Seriously, you couldn't make it up![/p][/quote]Unfortunately, this is what "Great" Britain has become.[/p][/quote]Well perhaps the "Travellers" should travel somewhere else then, they shouldn't be called travellers if they take up permanent residence....the expression "like it, or lump it" springs to mind... Dilligaf2010
  • Score: -5

11:59pm Thu 31 Jul 14

OxonResident says...

Turned off the southbound A34 at the Hinksey junction to head up the Boars Hill road this evening. There was a VERY sudden stop on the A34 lane 1 with vehicles queuing to turn off up the slip road. Someone ahead must have had a lucky escape as there was a smell of burning tyre rubber and visible tyre smoke lingering in the air. Once on the Hinksey roundabout the traffic signals for turning right to head up Boars Hill seem to have been changed so that they only go green for about 15 seconds every 3 minutes. When they do go green vehicles entering the roundabout from the A423 are queuing all across the entrance to the roundabout so you can't move anyway. Very frustrating. That 15 seconds needs to be increased because there just isn't enough time for the A423 entrance bit to clear of traffic so Boars Hill bound traffic can move round.

Thankfully I won't need to use the junction tomorrow. I have a feeling that given how bad the northbound A34 queues on a Friday anyway, it will be particularly miserable down there.
Turned off the southbound A34 at the Hinksey junction to head up the Boars Hill road this evening. There was a VERY sudden stop on the A34 lane 1 with vehicles queuing to turn off up the slip road. Someone ahead must have had a lucky escape as there was a smell of burning tyre rubber and visible tyre smoke lingering in the air. Once on the Hinksey roundabout the traffic signals for turning right to head up Boars Hill seem to have been changed so that they only go green for about 15 seconds every 3 minutes. When they do go green vehicles entering the roundabout from the A423 are queuing all across the entrance to the roundabout so you can't move anyway. Very frustrating. That 15 seconds needs to be increased because there just isn't enough time for the A423 entrance bit to clear of traffic so Boars Hill bound traffic can move round. Thankfully I won't need to use the junction tomorrow. I have a feeling that given how bad the northbound A34 queues on a Friday anyway, it will be particularly miserable down there. OxonResident
  • Score: 2

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