Brace yourself for long, hot summer of city roadworks

Traffic queueing to get into Oxford on Botley Road yesterday morning as a cyclist pedals out of the city. Picture: Leah McLaren

Traffic queueing to get into Oxford on Botley Road yesterday morning as a cyclist pedals out of the city. Picture: Leah McLaren Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

MORE roadworks are on the way for Oxford with motorists facing disruption over the summer.

The Oxford Mail can today reveal 18 projects are under way or set to start in the next two months.

It comes as major gridlock hit Oxford again yesterday because of temporary traffic lights on Botley Road for sewer repair work.

Further work was planned for the whole of August to refurbish a crossing in Botley Road near Alexandra Road but last night Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said it was unlikely to take place then because of the impact it would have.

By Tuesday, a total 11 projects across the city will be under way including work by electricity and gas firms and further work by Thames Water to repair sewers.

Graham Jones, spokesman for traders’ group ROX, said: “Given the amount of roadworks taking place in Oxford at the moment and over the next few years it’s crucial they are phased properly so they don’t all happen in a very short space of time in the one place.

“We don’t want the message to go out that there’s no point going to shop or do business in Oxford for the next six years because it’s too congested.”

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Gavin Spencer, from Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said ultimately the improvement in infrastructure would benefit businesses overall.

But he said roadworks must be carefully coordinated to avoid disruption to businesses and added: “We would urge that roadworks take place in the school holidays to reduce the impact.”

The work on Botley Road began on Tuesday and resulted in traffic stretching as far back as the A34 at Botley.

Taxi driver Aftab Hussein, who was stuck in traffic, said: “It is making life very difficult for me. I’m luckier than other drivers because I can use the bus lane but even then I’ve been sat here for ten minutes and I’m still not moving. People are standing waiting at the train station and I can’t get there to pick them up, so it’s not a good situation for anyone.”

Oxford Bus Company said roadworks such as those on Botley Road could delay buses by up to 90 minutes.

Thames Water – currently working to repair other sewers in Headington Road, Wharton Road and Osler Road – said it was “business as usual”.

But Eric Batts, Vale of White Horse district councillor for North Hinksey and Wytham, said he did not understand why the work could not wait two weeks until the school holidays.

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