HORROR crashes and hours-long gridlocks are some of the reasons why motorists avoid two 'hellish' roads through Oxfordshire, a local MP highlighted in Parliament.

The Conservative MP for Wantage, David Johnston, held a debate calling for urgent improvements to the 'unsafe' A420 and A34.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Tuesday, he pointed out that a number of drivers steer clear of these roads not because of the potential of delayed journeys but fears of getting into a traffic accident.

Addressing the problems on the A420 the MP said: "The road is known locally – it has been for a couple of decades now – as a 'road to hell' or 'Hell's Drive'.

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"The fundamental problem is that it is very unsafe.

"It is supposed to be a local road going through a predominantly rural area, but it is used for commercial traffic between Oxford and Swindon, with a lot of heavy goods vehicles, and as a shortcut between the M4 and the M40.

"All that adds up to too much traffic, and too much traffic of the wrong kind – one that is too heavy for what was built as a local road."

Oxford Mail:

This follows a lengthy campaign by residents in Oxfordshire who argue there are far too many accidents.

Motorists face regular delays and near misses, and there were at least 12 fatal crashes on the A420 in the three years to 2019, compared with five in the three years before that.

There have been 1,057 accidents in the past six years, which average at nearly one every other day.

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In July a man was arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after a collision between a Ford Transit van and a Mercedes lorry between Buckland and Faringdon resulted in a man's death.

Less than a month later another driver was rushed to the John Radcliffe Hospital with serious head injuries following a crash on the dangerous road.

The problems with the A34 are 'much better documented', Mr Johnston added.

The Tory MP, who moved to the county just a year ago, commented: "I know that many members of this House have some experience of the A34.

"In the past six years we have had 50 fatal crashes on this road, and 2,593 overall, which is more than one every single day.

Oxford Mail:

"Those figures are only for collisions that involve people being injured; they are not the figures for just damage to cars.

"On Thursday, I was told that I had secured this Adjournment debate – there was a crash on the A34 on the Tuesday beforehand and on the Friday the day after, and I am just talking about the section that is in Oxfordshire."

Highways England recently revealed an investigation into the road, which could result in a series of changes on the Oxfordshire and West Berkshire stretch of the A34 between the M4, at Chieveley near Newbury, and M40 near Bicester.

The move comes after a number of recent devastating collisions where people have lost their lives.

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When the website for the much-discussed project went live earlier this month, North Abingdon councillor Emily Smith argued it is 'strange' that the safety improvements promised in the run up to the 2017 General Election were not implemented.

But while the A34 forms part of the strategic road network managed by Highways England, the A420 is a local road looked after by Oxfordshire County Council.

A spokesperson for the local authority commented: "The A420 is a key strategic route and the council continues to assess the needs of users and residents along the route, from an operational, local and strategic transport view.

"Safety is included in this assessment and we recognise the importance of investment in measures that will improve the safety of all users of the road network.

"As part of the wider capital programme for highways, a specific allocation has been identified to address safety and accessibility matters across the county."