PATIENTS in Oxford have been warned to allow two hours to get to hospital once the next phase of a major roadwork project begins.

Oxfordshire county council’s £12.5m Access to Headington scheme will enter its next and most controversial stage next month and will last until March.

The work to improve roads and junctions in the area will be carried out at Headley Way and Cherwell Drive, near to the main entrance to the John Radcliffe Hospital.

This phase was already delayed by six months in July after the county council blamed an ‘unacceptable’ strain on the traffic network for the setback.

Now, just one month before the work is set to begin Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is warning visitors and patients to plan ahead or face a two-hour wait just to be arrive.

The Trust said in a statement: “Access to the John Radcliffe will be severely affected from January 2018 until early March 2018. During the roadworks, please allow an extra 45-60 minutes’ journey time to get to the hospital if you are travelling by car.”

The trust added that drivers should allow for an additional hour to find a parking space and said: “Please do not drive unless you have no other option: parking space is very limited and there is no on-street parking nearby.”

Oxford Mail:

The roadworks have been carried out in phases over the past year - pic. Jon Lewis 

In response, county councillor Roz Smith warned of a 'grim' start to the new year when work begins on January 14 and said: “It will be a nightmare.

“There are going to be a lot of problems getting to the John Radcliffe and I don’t see any other way around it. It will be grim.

“I am just not convinced it is going to help the flow of traffic. I have never been really totally convinced putting traffic lights and mini roundabouts will actually improve traffic.”

She said that there were other options which could be considered including the erection of a multi-storey car park or even greater flexibility in keeping appointments given the added time it will take to get to the site.

Fellow Headington councillor Ruth Wilkinson also raised concerns over how effective using alternative transport methods to get to the hospital would be.

She said: “Any idea that residents should ditch their cars and use public transport is questionable because another major worry is the impact of the roadworks on the buses. They will be just as affected as other vehicles, although any net reduction in vehicle numbers would clearly help. 

“On the wider issue of hospital parking, it would seem sensible to introduce multi-storey parking so that vehicles are not circling the site hunting for spaces across a wide area.”

The work will include new pedestrian crossings and re-designed roundabouts at junctions along Headley Way to include a new traffic signal junctions.

Oxfordshire County Council say the scheme will cut congestion and encourage people to ditch cars and take up cycling, as well as improve key access routes.