* An updated version of this story can be found here


Oxford High Street bus gate restrictions have been suspended due to flooding.

The closure of the Abingdon Road due to flooding, combined with the continued closure of Botley Road at the rail bridge has prompted the county council to open the High Street to all traffic 24 hours a day.

Ordinary traffic is usually banned from using the high street between 7.30am and 6.30pm.

READ MORE: Oxfordshire flooding updates from across the county

During that time the route can only be used by local buses, taxis/licensed private hire (not private rental) and exempt emergency vehicles.

Drivers caught in the bus lane flouting the ban during those hours are fined if they are caught by ANPR cameras.

But the county council has decided to temporarily lift the restriction while the Abingdon Road remains closed due to flooding.

Oxford Mail: Flooding in Abingdon RoadThe Botley Road is also closed at the rail bridge due to an ongoing project to revamp the station.

The county council posted on X, formerly Twitter on Sunday afternoon: "A reminder that access can temporarily be gained through Oxford's High Street bus gates due to the flooding that has led to the closure of Abingdon Road in Oxford. The road won't be open in time for the Monday rush hour. We are watching water levels closely."

READ MORE: Covered Market in Oxford makes UK top 10 list

A county council spokesman added: "Drivers won’t be fined for travelling through the High Street bus gate during this period.

"The opening of the High Street bus gate is a temporary measure and is only expected to last while Abingdon Road remains closed due to flooding."

Some residents have called for the county council to also open East Oxford Low Traffic Neighbourhood restrictions but the council said: "There are no plans to open the East Oxford LTNs."

Conservative county councillor Liam Walker welcomed the decision to open the High Street bus gate to all traffic.

Oxford Mail: County councillor Liam WalkerHe said: "It is quite unprecedented to open this bus gate but I expect the council has come under pressure from the emergency services, with the Abingdon Road and Botley Road closed.

"Removing the LTNs in east Oxford at this time would also help but I don't think the council is committed to doing that.

"The council needs to use a bit of common sense and budge - the East Oxford LTNs should certainly be opened while the Abingdon Road remains closed."

There are plans to introduce six new bus gates - or traffic filters - across the city.

READ MORE: Oxford United could sign six new players in January

The new bus gate locations are: St Cross Road, Thames Street, Hythe Bridge Street, St Clements, Marston Ferry Road and Hollow Way.

The county council has agreed not to introduce them until Network Rail has concluded its £161m scheme to improve Oxford station, which has resulted in the Botley Road closure. Work is due to finish in October.

Help support trusted local news 

Sign up for a digital subscription now: oxfordmail.co.uk/subscribe 

As a digital subscriber you will get: 

  • Unlimited access to the Oxford Mail website 
  • Advert-light access 
  • Reader rewards 
  • Full access to our app 

About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

You can also read his weekly Traffic and Transport newsletter.