COMMUTERS have branded a £10m roundabout project 'a waste of money' after it was revealed North Oxford's roads are more congested than before the scheme started.

Journey times for routes around the roundabouts revealed an overall decrease but many roads, including Woodstock Road, Banbury Road, Sunderland Avenue and parts of the A40 have become more clogged up than before the Wolvercote and Cutteslowe roundabout scheme.

The work caused 15 months of disruption but was designed to improve traffic flows and bolster the road network ahead of thousands of new homes planned by 2031.

Oxfordshire County Council said the scheme should not be viewed in isolation and promised it wasn't 'the final word' on traffic improvements in the area.

It also said the project wasn't just about improving vehicle speeds and had improved safety and conditions for cyclists and pedestrians.

Witney resident Michael Belcher obtained the data after submitting a Freedom of Information request to compare journey times from 2014 with those for this year.

The 31-year-old travels to work in Cowley every day and asked for the figures after becoming frustrated with his commute.

He said: "If you work out the total average then it's something like a four per cent decrease, personally I spend two minutes less on the A40 - but for £10m that's not very much, it's certainly not been worth it.

"There are winners and losers though and many roads, such as Sunderland Avenue have got a lot worse for motorists.

"Also the improvements were meant to be future proof to deal with the many housing developments planned but it has hardly sorted out the current problems."

The council used Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras to monitor how long it was taking vehicles for each section.

It took commuters an average ten minutes and three seconds to travel the length of Banbury Road into the city in 2014 but so far this year it has taken drivers an average eleven minutes and three seconds.

The same figures for Woodstock Road has seen journey times jump from just under nine minutes to ten minutes.

Motorists have seen two minutes shaved off their commute from the Cassington Roundabout on the A40 but the stretch approaching Wolvercote Roundabout takes on average four minutes 42 seconds, up from two minutes 53 seconds in 2014.

Wolvercote resident Paul Ballard-Whyte negotiates the roundabout twice a day to and from his job as a teacher in Bicester.

He said: "It's appalling, the situation has become immensely worse, it's impossible to turn onto Woodstock Road and not be in a queue.

"The traffic lights are meant to be 'intelligent' but they don't take into account the number of cars and traffic flows at all."

On Saturday the county council will begin resurfacing Sunderland Avenue despite residents claiming it should have been done as part of the £10m project.

The new three lane system approaching the Cutteslowe Roundabout and the council will now revert to two lanes.

Lesley Fitchett, who has fought alongside her neighbours for the improvements, said it was a waste of money.

She said: "They spent so much money on a project that caused so much disruption and nothing has improved.

"All that's happened is the situation on the surrounding roads has got worse.

"The traffic can be fine across the city but when you get near Cutteslowe roundabout it is queued.

She added: "I'm pleased they are resurfacing our road but you just wonder where the money is coming from, and what budget they will be taking it from."

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said this year's data may be affected by the new junction and speed limits around Barton Park.

He said: "Planning for future growth is not just about road capacity - Oxford and Oxfordshire want to lead the way in sustainable development so the improvements for pedestrians, cyclists and buses are just as important in laying the groundwork for future growth.

"The scheme itself is still relatively young and we need to monitor it over a longer period before rushing to conclusions.

"The work we have done on Cutteslowe and Wolvercote roundabouts is not the final word on traffic in this key area - the finite inbound capacity of Banbury and Woodstock Roads currently limits the performance of both junctions."