THE delayed Access to Headington transport plan will not be finished until late March 2020, the county council has said.

It is expected to cost about £16.7m – far more than its original £12.5m budget – and has regularly caused severe disruption.

Newly released documents show police, bus companies, businesses and many residents living in or around Headington still have concerns about improvements and the way they might impact on them.

A trader said the impact could be so severe on them that they might be forced to shut down. But the council insists delays and troubles will be justified by upgrades.

Access to Headington seeks to improve roads, roundabouts and traffic lights, reduce congestion and encourage more cycling. It was agreed more than three years ago, but completion dates have routinely been kicked back.

The Oxford Bus Company and Stagecoach, the city’s main bus operators, said gradients on some roads could cause passengers to be injured if they weren’t changed.

READ MORE: Access to Headington roads misery to last until September

They said gradients of 1:10 were ‘unacceptable’ for their services – but the council said they have ‘only been used at junctions with side roads’ that are not used by buses.

It added those gradients ‘would be reviewed to ensure such problems are avoided’.

The bus companies’ comments came as part of a county council consultation that had to be reopened because some aspects of the scheme have taken so long.

The measures were accepted at a meeting in June 2016 but the authority was obliged to ask people for their views again.

Owen Jenkins, the council’s director for community operations, said: “It is accepted that this unforeseen situation is very regrettable, especially as the majority of the measures subject to consultation have been constructed or are under construction.”

During previous stages of Access to Headington work, John Radcliffe Hospital bosses warned that parking there could take up to two hours because of roadworks around its site.

The council said that work in Old Road and Windmill Road will mean ‘narrow lanes and temporary traffic management’ as some parking bays are removed.

But a business owner based in Windmill Road since 1990 said their company might be ‘destroyed’ if spaces are lost as a result of the work.

A resident opposed to the plan said: “At night, Windmill Road already is a danger with cars gunning it down to hit the green lights. With no cars to make them slow down, this will get worse.”

Meanwhile, the Oxford Pedestrians’ Association said they were opposed to a plan to move spaces from Windmill Road and into streets off it.

It said it worried it prioritised car use over pedestrians or cyclists.

A Thames Valley Police traffic officer told the county council in its consultation that people must be educated about a ‘parallel crossing’ planned for Windmill Road.

READ MORE: Access to Headington: Traders fear for future because of roadworks

They said they worried about the ‘level of compliance’ since most people will be unfamiliar with them.

The project will be discussed at a county council meeting on Thursday.

A county council spokesman said: “The current cost of Access to Headington is around £16.7m. The majority of the scheme is complete and the contractor’s revised programme is to achieve completion by end of March 2020.

“The completed project will represent a massive investment in sustainable transport in Headington and while there has been disruption during the work we believe that the long-term benefits will be worth it.

“A range of unforeseen circumstances, as detailed in the report, mean that the works were not complete within two years of the original notification of the traffic regulation orders and so we are required they to go through the process again for some locations.”