A ROADWORKS project designed to make Headington streets better for bicycles and cars is due to wrap this summer, with a final estimated price tag of £17 million.

Ground was first broken on the Access to Headington project in 2016.

According to Oxfordshire County Council, ‘A2H’ will be completed by August this year after four years which have seen multiple issues delay the project.

The latest delay was the coronavirus pandemic, which stalled work meant the council had to overhaul health and safety arrangements.

But it has also faced delays when plumbing and wiring was accidentally dug up.

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One local councillor has described the end of the works as giving a ‘sense of relief’ for local residents and shopkeepers, who have had to deal with long queues of traffic along Headley Way in particular since work on that road started in 2017.

The project is designed to make traffic flow more efficiently on roads between Headington and other parts of Oxford, and originally had a £16m price tag.

Oxford Mail:

A finished segregated cycle path on Headley Way

It is hoped that buses will be able to move more quickly along main roads and segregated cycleways have also been created along many routes.

Works have taken place in a series of phases, beginning with the Slade in 2016, before moving on to the bottom of Headley Way in 2017, where traffic lights were placed at the junction with Marston Road.

New traffic lights have also been built at the entrance to the John Radcliffe Hospital on Headley Way.

There were also roadworks on Churchill Drive, London Road, and Old Road, as well as on side streets.

The final phases of the works has included the steep middle section of Headley Way, where a new walkway on concrete blocks has been built for pedestrians, as well as new cycling lanes on Windmill Road, set to start at the end of this month.

(Read a full timeline at the end of the article)

But Roz Smith, who is both a county and city councillor representing Headington said: “For me, it is not finished yet.”

Oxford Mail:

Traffic queues on Headley Way in 2018. Picture: Ed Nix

While Ms Smith said she was keen to see Windmill Road bike paths installed, there was still more which could be done including negotiations to be taken up in the future with a landowner on Old Road to build a westward running bike path.

Nigel Chapman, city councillor for Headington Hill and Northway, said the project had been a ‘long drawn-out process’ but felt on balance it had been worth it.

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He said: “Local people have had to put up with a lot of disruption.Works have been added on and I know people have thought sometimes ‘will this ever end?’

“Well it will end and I think there will be a sense of relief for residents.”

He added though that there were some ongoing issues with the scheme, including the decision to change how traffic flowed on Cherwell Drive outside shops at the bottom of Headley Way, and the ‘brutalist’ architecture of the new concrete footpath base.

Oxford Mail:

The ‘brutalist’ concrete sittings on the new footpath on Headley Way.

Both councillors said businesses in the shops had been able to claim rates relief to help them recoup the cost of lost income while roadworks disrupted business in 2018.

At one of the shops, Mediterranean Fish Bar, owner Kemal Koc said he thought the works had been worth it.

He added: “English people love to complain about traffic! It was very bad at the time for business, but since they have finished we have had no problem.”

Oxford Mail:

Kemal Koc (right) at Mediterranean Fish Bar.

His neighbour Mark Watson of Oxford Car Audio said he had weathered the disruption well, but knew others had not.

Residents have also welcomed the news of the roadworks finishing. Cathy O’Neill of Headley Way took part in a series of protests during lockdown after trees on the road were cut down after being damaged by works to install new cycle paths.

She said: “Many of us will be glad it is over, but there is a feeling of frustration among us that the council has not spoken more with the residents about works as they happened.”

Alison Hill said the cycling lobby group Cyclox which she chairs is also concerned about the different standards of some on the new cycle paths.

But she added: “We remain optimistic that the county council will become more expert with cycling infrastructure in future development. It is hard to plan routes for pedestrians, cyclists and cars.”

A county council spokesman confirmed the Windmill Road work would be the last ‘under the Access to Headington banner’.

Access to Headington Timeline


Consultation takes place early in the year with areas set to be affected by the project. Later, work begins at the Slade. Project costs are set at £16m.


Work at the Slade concludes by the end of the year, which leads to new cycle paths running alongside the pavements. Plans for the work along Headley Way are shown.

This includes replacing the roundabout at the entrance to the JR with traffic lights, and placing traffic lights at the junction of Marston Road, Headley Way and Cherwell Drive.

Work also takes place on Old Road and Churchill Drive, near the Churchill Hospital.


Work begins on Headley Way in May after being postponed from January. It leads to long traffic tailbacks. Works are now set to cost £16.7m

Shop owners on Cherwell Drive where it meets Marston Road say they are worried about the costs the works are causing to their business. They are later given business rates relief to help them.

New traffic islands and footpaths are built on London Road.

Outside the JR, the new traffic lights works wraps up, and gas mains repairs are also incorporated into the plans.

On Old Road, a new set of traffic lights are switched on.


Work on the cycle path at Old Road is finished. A new retaining wall on the steep section of Headley Way is begun, which is later described as ‘brutalist’ when near completion.

Utilities pipes are accidentally dug up while the work is carried out, and they need to be fixed and moved out of the way.

The cycle path on Old Road is finished.


Work is concentrated around the middle Headley Way.

It emerges that some tree roots were damaged when new cycle paths were installed on the road and will be removed. Residents protest.

The last leg of the work on Windmill Road begins at the end of June as Headley Way nears completion.

The overall cost stands at £17m.