Work to improve Oxford's historic Broad Street was due to start today.

The new measures will include a rising bollard to prevent the street being used as a short-cut by motorists, and the enlargement of the pedestrian area at the western end.

The whole street will be resurfaced, and there will be more cycle parking facilities and improved parking and loading arrangements.

Some work will begin today, while the main resurfacing operation will start on February 4. It is hoped it will be completed by February 15.

The work is an interim scheme pending a large-scale revamp of the street, possibly later this year. The 17 free half-hour parking spaces introduced before Christmas will remain, at least until the summer.

Eddie Luck, assistant director of Oxfordshire County Council's environmental services department, said: "I am pleased that we have been able to achieve what we set out to do and have been able to deliver this promise to city centre retailers."

Cllr Keith Mitchell, leader of the council, added: "This is excellent news for the traders and visitors, especially as we have been able to implement it well before the start of the tourist season."