Oxfordshire County Council has begun construction on the south westerly section of the Benson relief road scheme, with the creation of flood protection measures.

The Benson relief road is designed to be an alternative route from the A4074 and B4009, north of Benson.

The relief road is intended to reduce congestion through Benson village and give the new housing developments to the north direct access to the A4074, at the Elms Bridge roundabout, and the B4009, west of Braze Lane. The county council has also stated the project will also provide capacity improvements at the Church Road junction.

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Councillor Judy Roberts, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for infrastructure and development strategy, said: “Benson is a commuter village, with many working people travelling to their jobs. Benson’s village centre has a complex arrangement of junctions, which must be navigated by both local and through traffic – including children walking to school and to other village facilities.

“Pedestrians, particularly those less mobile and parents with young children and pushchairs, are at risk while crossing the roads. The Benson relief road is a central piece to new infrastructure for the village and a vital tool to reducing through traffic. It incorporates measures to encourage cycling and walking locally, which helps reduce car usage in the village, lessening congestion, local emissions and adverse air quality.”

The county council has appointed Milestone Infrastructure to complete its 250 metre section of the road as well as prepare a flood compensation area. The new road is within a flood zone and the flood compensation area is a large area of ground, lowered and offset from the road, which should provide a storage facility for any flood water.

Work on the flood compensation area will take approximately 12 weeks, subject to weather conditions. Also included as part of the work will be an archaeology mapping to identify and record any archaeological finds in the construction area.

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Once the flood protection measures are complete, full construction of the highway, including laying tarmac and sidewalks, landscaping and lighting as well as the cycle and pedestrian paths, will begin in early 2024, lasting six to eight months.

Planning consent for the scheme was granted in January 2022 and it is being funded through a combination of Growth Deal funding and Section 106 contributions from developers.

The northern section of the road is already complete while parts of the middle section are also currently under construction. These are being delivered by the various housing developers on site. The entire route is anticipated to be open to all traffic in 2026.