A MAJOR scheme to improve a junction in Witney will only work if other road improvements are made, according to councillors and residents.

Oxfordshire County Council yesterday announced the £2.5m project, to build a new traffic signal-controlled junction between Ducklington Lane and Station Lane.

Starting on Tuesday, it will have three-lane approaches and two-lane exits – merging to one – on all arms except Thorney Leys, which will have one exit.

Two lanes will be created on the Ducklington Lane northbound stretch, between the roundabout south of the A40 and the Station Lane junction.

New crossings and cycle lanes will also be created as part of the scheme.

The work, expected to take six months, is the first of four phases in the council’s transport strategy for Witney which includes building new junctions on the A40 at Downs Road and Shores Green, as well as improving traffic flow in and around Bridge Street.

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Witney branch chairman David Condon supported the scheme as an alternative to the Cogges Link Road project.

He said: “It will improve the speed of traffic flowing through the junction at peak times, thereby reducing the bottleneck that you get at the Ducklington Lane roundabout. It’s a great start but on its own it’s only part of the job.

“We need the junctions at Shores Green and Downs Road to be built.”

Duncan Enright, West Oxfordshire district councillor for Witney east ward, said: “It’s a terrible junction at the moment so it’s good that they are addressing the issue.”

A petition set up by Mr Enright urging the county council to begin the Shores Green work as soon as possible has been signed by more than 400 people.

He added: “The fact they are doing the Ducklington Lane work shouldn’t release the pressure on them doing something about Shores Green.”

County council Witney south and central division member Laura Price said the junction would help cope with increased traffic when 1,000 homes are built in West Witney.

Ms Price said: “This is how we should respond when we have a housing development, and Witney is only going to continue to grow.”

County council leader Ian Hudspeth said: “We’ve had to change our plans in the last few years, but we recognise the traffic issues in Witney.

“We’re moving forward and hopefully when they are all implemented traffic will be able to flow better.”

He said funding was available for the Downs Road improvements but money still needed to be found for the Shores Green work.

All phases of the project should be completed by 2019.