Motorists endured “traffic mayhem” over the weekend after parts of the A34 were closed to allow for repairs to Wolvercote Viaduct.

National Highways announced the planned closure in advance, with the A34 southbound between the Botley and Peartree interchanges shut to traffic from Friday evening until earlier this morning.

With Botley Road also closed to through-traffic, motorists were taken on a signed diversion via the Eastern Bypass Road, A40 and A44, between the Peartree and Hinksey Hill Interchanges.

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Oxford Mail: Traffic was jammed in WolvercoteTraffic was jammed in Wolvercote (Image: Tim Hopkins)

However, others attempted to avoid the lengthy, traffic-choked detour by passing through Wolvercote and Wytham, where villagers reported "gridlock".

Motorists reported being caught in “manic” traffic jams through the village, and fear the traffic congestion will only get worse with National Highways confirming the road will close for a further six weekends this month and next.

READ MORE: A34 closures cause traffic mayhem near Wolvercote

Andrew Gant, the county council’s cabinet member for highway management, said the problem was caused by motorists not following the official diversion.

Oxford Mail: Councillor and cabinet member for highways Andrew GantCouncillor and cabinet member for highways Andrew Gant (Image: Ed Nix)

Speaking exclusively to the Oxford Mail, he said he would be meeting National Highway’s officers “as soon as possible” and promised to come up with a “plan for the next southbound closures”.

He said: “I saw for myself the issues caused in Wolvercote and Wytham.

“Traffic has been diverting through these villages due to the weekend southbound closure by National Highways who are responsible for this road and the current work”.

Mr Gant assured motorists he would “make sure this does not happen again”.

Oxford Mail: Traffic queuing in WolvercoteTraffic queuing in Wolvercote (Image: Tim Hopkins)

He added: “The official diversion is meant to be via the eastern ring road, but clearly many drivers chose to go through Wolvercote, causing serious problems and concerns for residents”.

Tim Hopkins, who lives in Wolvercote, said the closures had meant he was trapped in his home and he “couldn’t believe there were more weekends of mayhem to come”.


Oxford Mail: Sign up to Ed Halford's free weekly Politics newsletter here Sign up to Ed Halford's free weekly Politics newsletter here (Image: Newsquest)

He said: “I think the council should have foreseen this problem and put in some road management, as I’ve been unable to leave the village due to the traffic chaos”.

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Mr Hopkins said the congestion was dangerous.

He said: “If a fire engine needs to pass through, then it won’t be able to get through for ages.”

At this time of the year, Mr Hopkins said the traffic prevented visitors enjoying Port Meadow and local pubs, such as the Trout Inn at Godstow Bridge.

Oxford Mail: Cars at a standstillCars at a standstill (Image: Tim Hopkins)

Another motorist told the Oxford Mail the traffic was “manic” and motorists were having to be directed into the Trout's car park.

She added: “They need to introduce temporary traffic lights as the traffic was at a complete standstill.”

The appalling traffic situation was not helped by two collisions which took place on the A40 and these forced Thames Valley Police to temporarily close the road eastbound between Eynsham Roundabout and Wolvercote Roundabout.

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Midwife Nina Van Schaick, 40, who lives in Wolvercote, said the weekend had been “absolutely hellish”.

She explained: “My husband couldn’t pick up my son or get out of the village.

“As a midwife I’m very worried about people being able to access emergency care.”

Ms Van Schaick said she assumed there would at least be “temporary traffic lights” and “provision for emergency vehicles” but there was nothing.

Ms Van Schaick said she was immediately in touch with her local council to complain.

She said the prospect of this traffic chaos continuing over future weekends was “insane” and pointed out that this was “not an ideal time” for the work to take place with the Botley Road closure already causing traffic disruption.

National Highways has been approached for comment.

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Ed specialises in writing political stories for the Oxford Mail and The Oxford Times. 

He joined in the team in February 2023, after completing a History undergraduate degree at the University of York and studying for his NCTJ diploma in London.

Ed’s weekly politics newsletter is released every Saturday morning.