A lifesaving project to improve conditions on the A361 between Banbury and Chipping Norton has won a royal award.

It was previously classed as one of the 50 most dangerous sections of A road in the UK by the International Road Assessment Programme.

Now Oxfordshire County Council has council carried out a £5.1 million improvements project with funding from the Department for Transport (DfT).

Work on a wide range of safety improvements for the 16km stretch were completed last year.

The project consisted of carriageway resurfacing to improve skid resistance; surface water drainage improvements to prevent overflowing; footway improvements including conversion to a shared use pedestrians/cycleway to allow safe off-road cycling; and vegetation clearance to improve visibility, especially at bends.

An existing Pelican crossing was converted to Toucan to allow safe connection between Ell’s Lane and Bloxham’s Warriner School.

There was a reduction in speed limits from 50mph to 40mph between Banbury and Wykham Lane and from 60mph to 50pmh in southern sections.

Road markings and signage improvements were introduced, including yellow backed and raised signs for better visibility, and introduction of road studs on all bends to better guide motorists at night.

The project, which was part of the £100million Safer Roads Fund programme, has won a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award.

HRH Prince Michael of Kent, executive director of the Road Safety Foundation, said: “I was delighted when the Government announced the Safer Roads Fund. The importance of sound investment at local level will provide many long-overdue improvements, not just in the 50 most dangerous stretches of A roads in England, but elsewhere too.”