Construction of the final section of a new link road between Wantage and Grove has begun two weeks ahead of schedule, after early phase earthworks were completed last month.

Known as the Wantage Eastern Link Road (WELR), the new road will extend between the A417 (east of Wantage) and the A338 (north of Wantage). It will also provide direct access onto both the A338 and A417 for the Kingsgrove housing development.

The route is intended to create direct access for the residents of the development, with Oxfordshire County Council claiming that it will also provide: improved air quality in central Wantage by reducing traffic, improvements to walking and cycling facilities and reduced congestion in Wantage town centre.

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The WELR scheme is being delivered in three sections. Sections one and two, the eastern and western arms of the road, have been delivered and funded by St Modwen, developer of the Kingsgrove housing development. The final section – section three – is the middle section linking the eastern and western arms.

Section one is now complete and section two is nearing full completion. The construction works for section three will last until summer 2024, which is when the entire route is expected to fully open for all traffic.

The section three construction works will be carried out between the hours of 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday. As section three is being built away from the existing highway network, there is expected to be minimal traffic disruption during construction.

Councillor Judy Roberts, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Development Strategy, said: “We’ve reached a vital point in the delivery of this scheme, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to progress the main civils works ahead of schedule. Wantage is a historic market town that is rapidly growing. 

“The Wantage Eastern Link Road scheme will bring key benefits to the town. The developer has also worked hard to progress their parts of the infrastructure and by working together, we are investing in an improved transport network, including walking and cycling infrastructure, which will connect Wantage and its adjacent villages with the key employment centres in the Science Vale.”

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This project is being constructed by Galliford Try on behalf of the county council.

Tim Jones, senior project manager, said: "This is a vital piece of infrastructure and a major milestone in the evolution of the project, which follows on from the fantastic progress with the opening of the primary school on site and completion of key access roads, landscaping and other infrastructure works.”