A JUNCTION on the A34 is ‘shovel ready’ and needs to be fast-tracked and delivered, a local MP has said.

Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon has written to councillor Ian Hudspeth, Conservative Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, asking him what efforts have been made to fast-track the Lodge Hill diamond junction.

The MPs query comes after the Government wrote to mayors to try and identify ‘shovel ready’ projects that should be moved forward quickly whilst traffic levels are lower due to Covid-19.

Oxford Mail:

In her letter, the MP asked the Government if there will be further delays to the completion of Lodge Hill diamond junction on the A34 due to the pandemic. However, the Department for Transport said it would be up to the County Council to decide.

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The MP asked Mr Hudspeth for an update on the progress of the junction before she then challenged him to promote the junction as a candidate to be fast-tracked.

Layla Moran said: “Lodge Hill has been beset by delay after delay, and we need clear answers from Oxfordshire County Council as to whether it’s going to be delayed again due to coronavirus.

“It is vital that the diamond interchange is built before the housing estates planned for north of Abingdon are built. And the lockdown has shown us what a difference lower traffic levels make to the air quality and congestion in central Abingdon – Lodge Hill will help make that permanent. The Government offered councils an opportunity to fast-track ‘shovel-ready’ projects, and I sincerely hope Oxfordshire County Council put Lodge Hill forward for this scheme. It’s time the junction was delivered.”

According to the MP work on the junction has been delayed since funding was secured in 2017.

However, minister of state for transport George Freeman said the project might be complete in early 2022.