ONE of the big winners from a £2.5m facelift of Oxford's Iffley Road will be SS Mary & John Primary School.

A new zebra crossing will help pupils and parents safely negotiate the busy road, which divides its two sites.

As we reported earlier this month, the project, due to start in May, will take 70 weeks to complete, with motorists facing the prospect of long-term disruption to journeys.

But the Oxfordshire County Council scheme has won the support of local residents and councillors, who say the 18 months of pain will be worth it in the long run.

The new zebra crossing will be created close to Iffley Road’s junction with Percy Street and Daubeny Road.

School governor Joan Clanchy said the school had been campaigning for a crossing since it moved to its present sites in 2003.

Years One and Two are taught in Hertford Street, while older pupils have lessons in Meadow Lane, on the opposite side of Iffley Road.

She said: “This is a massive plus. About 60 families a day cross between our school sites.

“It’s a very busy road and there was an accident about four years ago.

“This is really going to improve road safety.”

The improvements will be carried out in two phases.

A 40-week programme of work between The Plain and Henley Street is set to start in May. The second 30-week phase, in 2012-13, will take the changes down to Donnington Bridge Road.

Mrs Clanchy added: “We will just put up with it. The prize is worth it.”

The road, dubbed the “most neglected in Oxfordshire”, will be resurfaced as part of the project. Only a single lane will be open to traffic for much of the time.

Meetings between the council, bus companies and others will be held to help minimise disruption.

East Oxford county councillor Saj Malik, who has campaigned for the improvements, appealed for commuters and residents to be patient. He said: “It’s a long job, but done properly this will last 20 years.”

  • For a detailed plan of the planned alterations to Iffley Road, see today's Oxford Mail newspaper.