WORK is about to start on a scheme that will open up a new route to benefit cyclists, pedestrians and other users along a main road in Bicester.

This month, work will start on the first phase of the Howes Lane (A4095) realignment project.

The project, funded by Homes England and the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, is designed to ease expected congestion between Howes Lane and Bucknell Road, as housing and economic development continues in and around Bicester.

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It will also help to support the North West Bicester eco-town development, delivering up to 6,000 new homes and community infrastructure.

The scheme has been helped with £23.5 million of funds from the £150 million Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal.

The first phase of work will be a bridge under the railway to accommodate the realigned Howes Lane and a separate underpass through the railway embankment which will be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

A brief railway closure over the Easter period in 2021 has been agreed with Network Rail to allow safe insertion of the steel underbridge while minimising disruption to the public.

Work should be completed by July 2021.

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Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet member for Environment said: “Investment in better infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians along with real sustainable travel options is a vital part of our growth strategy.

"New homes are much needed in Oxfordshire but only in locations where they can be built with sustainable supporting infrastructure.

"This work along the A4095 will allow Bicester to grow with real active travel options for future residents to enable it to be healthy and sustainable community.”

Cherwell Councillor Lynn Pratt said: “Delivering this new infrastructure will not only ease congestion in the area but also unlock a vital parcel of land in north west Bicester, enabling the provision of 6,000 homes under the Garden Town scheme.”