PLANS to pump tens of millions of pounds into upgrading the A40 could be boosted if a new bid is approved.

Oxfordshire County Council has submitted an application for £102m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), which would help extend the A40 dual carriageway from Witney to a proposed Eynsham park and ride.

It would also improve cycling facilities on the route and extend the A40 westbound bus lane from west of the Duke’s Cut canal and railway bridges, near Wolvercote, to the park and ride.

The council says the improvements will unlock 4,800 new homes nearby and expects to hear the outcome of the bid by late summer.

Read again: £180m plan to improve A40

Oxfordshire County Council leader, Ian Hudspeth, said: “This bid will help us make the A40 fit for purpose giving it a much-needed upgrade to support sustainable growth in West Oxfordshire.

"The A40 is already above capacity severely affecting residents and businesses.

"The massive improvements we are proposing will alleviate congestion, improve public transport, making journeys more reliable and shorter and linking this route to the future Eynsham park and ride.”

Up to 32,000 vehicles use the congested route every day, which has been described by business leaders and Witney MP Robert Courts as one of the biggest barriers to economic growth in the district.

Read again: A40 is 'millstone around necks' of West Oxfordshire businesses

In November, the county council revealed £180m plans to improve the road, including the new park and ride, which would lie north of the A40, west of Cuckoo Lane, Eynsham.

New bus stops on the A40, westbound bus priority and junction improvements at certain points of the stretch also feature in the 'bus lane project'.

Extra improvements have been broken down into five elements, one of which is extending the A40 dual carriageway from Witney to the park and ride.

The HIF bid was put together in close partnership with West Oxfordshire District Council and, if successful, would also deliver capacity and connectivity improvements at the Duke’s Cut Canal and railway bridges.

This would include an eastbound bus route over the bridges on the approach to Wolvercote and improved cycle facilities, including a link joining the A40 cycle route to the National Cycle Network route 5, along the Oxford Canal.

The council’s original proposals included the B4044 Community Path, which was removed from the package due to the 'specific criteria' for HIFs.

Read more: Cycle path left out of key funding bid

Giles Hughes, head of paid service at West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “This bid will help ease the daily misery commuters have to endure on the A40 every day and will bring major benefits to the District’s economy in terms of attracting businesses and tourists to the area.

“A very strong case has been made to Government for this funding and we look forward to a positive outcome later in the year.”

Chris Coleman, managing director for Stagecoach in Oxford, added: "We strongly support the HIF bid submitted by Oxfordshire County Council and believe that this second phase of improvements to the A40 west of Eynsham and around Dukes Cut is necessary to secure the full benefits arising from the initial bus lanes scheme east of Eynsham.

"Together, these will transform journey times and reliability for the thousands of customers using our services each week between West Oxfordshire and the city.

"This scheme creates a comprehensive solution necessary to deliver an attractive public transport offer on the A40 that is essential to serve the needs of planned residential and employment sites in the future.”