ROADWORKS on a traffic-clogged city centre junction have now finished, though most motorists will not see the benefit because of the lockdown.

Roadworks on Worcester Street, which started in February, have been finished as part of a £210,000 scheme to make roads between the railway station and the city centre safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The work has changed a four-way crossroads at the junction with Hythe Bridge Street into two separated lanes.

When construction first began on Monday, February 10, it caused long tailbacks of traffic.

But now, as the work has come to an end, Oxford’s roads are largely empty due to social distancing measures implemented as part of the coronavirus lockdown.

Oxfordshire County Council spokesman Martin Crabtree said the work had been completed on March 25.

He said: “The improvement works on the Worcester Street and Hythe Bridge Street junction were completed last week.

“The traffic lights are now working. The operation of the new layout will be monitored when road conditions return to normal.”

The old crossroad layout was in place since 2014 when the junction was first changed because of major work being carried out in Frideswide Square.

When the changes were first announced, city and county councillor Susanna Pressel welcomed them and added the alterations made in 2014 were a mistake.

At the time, she said the new layout would be a welcome change for pedestrians and cyclists trying to navigate the confusing junction, but added the road would be ‘put back to almost how it used to be five years ago’.

It was also welcomed by the chair of Oxford cycling group Cyclox, Dr Allison Hill.

The redesigned road layout now means that the north of Worcester Street and Hythe Bridge Street operate together as a single route, while George Street and Worcester Street south will work separately.

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Between the two there are traffic islands and arrows indicating which lanes cars should stay in.

The £210,000 project lasted just beyond the seven weeks which had been planned for.

When work first began, it caused delays up to an hour for drivers on their morning commute, with traffic tailing back the length of Botley Road.

The county council then promised to make adjustments to cut the time drivers would be stuck.

Oxford Mail:

Picture: Ed Nix.

As work began, a council statement explained the new layout was designed to future-proof the road.

It said major development sites such as Westgate, Oxpens and Osney Mead meant there was a need to improve safety for a larger number of pedestrians, cyclist and public transport movements between the station and city centre.