Traffic chaos broke out on the approach to Botley Interchange this morning, with motorists facing delays of over five hours reaching Oxford and fights breaking out in the jams.

Delays on the north, east and southbound directions approaches to the Botley Interchange caused up to five miles of congestion in each direction, according to National Highways – which has been carrying out work at the junction, expected to continue until March.

One motorist, Sam Lockhart, travelling to work for the NHS in Oxford from Bampton, was stuck on the A420 for over five hours from 7.30am. 

He said: “I’ve been driving for 12 years and I drive a lot for work – roughly 20,000 miles a year – but I’ve never experienced anything like this anywhere else in the UK.

“They to sort this out. Oxford traffic is bad at the best of times but this is bordering on negligent.

“I can imagine there will be lots of people who couldn’t get to work on time or missed almost their whole day because of this. I could understand if it was a serious crash, but it appears to just be the road system breaking down because of all the roadworks.”

Upon reaching the Botley junction, he said he witnessed several motorists involved in an altercation.

He added: “A fight just broke as it was gridlocked and people were getting frustrated. Others calmed it down. The police should have been asked to help with traffic flow.

“People were sounding their horns then getting out of their cars and confronting each other. One woman tried to angrily open someone else’s passenger side door.

“Then others calmed the situation down.”

He also said there was no sign of it easing, describing the scene as “completely gridlocked.”

Motorists caught up in the chaos took to social media site X (formerly known as Twitter), asking National Highways for an explanation as to the cause of the delays. 

One driver said: “What changed exactly from earlier this week?

“A lane has been closed on that roundabout for a few weeks now but hasn’t always caused this much congestion. What will you do to prevent this in the future?”

Another motorist, who contacted the Oxford Mail, said: “I’ve been stuck since 9am from Cumnor towards Oxford, it’s made me late for work by two hours.” 

He reported it taking nearly two hours to reach the Botley Interchange.

Other motorists questioned Highways England, with one saying: “This clearly shows that you’re unable to plan and run roadworks with the motorist in mind.

“Your incompetence causes frustration, upset and financial loss for thousands. This is not acceptable. 

“Why have you allowed this and what do you plan to do to avoid this here in future?”

A National Highways spokesperson, said: “It’s vital that structures on National Highways’ motorways and major A-roads are kept in good condition to make sure they remain safe, reliable, and keep traffic moving.

"We are making improvements at the Botley Interchange as part of a series of coordinated safety improvements on the A34 and continue to make good progress. 

“We do all we can to minimise disruption and to raise awareness of our plans. This includes sending out 8,000 letters alert local residents and business to the repair work, as well as erecting 400 temporary signs warning road users of the temporary road layout.

“We encourage drivers to drive with extra care while they adjust to the new layout and to get into the correct lane in good time.”