Thousands of Nicola’s constituents suffer awful congestion caused by the A34 every day but when she was elected in 2010, there had been no major investment on the A34 for over two decades.
In two years of campaigning, she brought the Roads Minister to see the gridlock for himself, raised the A34 in Parliament and led delegations to the Dept for Transport. Already millions of pounds of improvements are underway at J9, Hinksey Hill and Marcham but this is not enough to solve the safety and capacity problems on the road.
That is why she went right to the top, lobbying the Chancellor personally for the money we need for the A34 and making it clear that the A34 is dangerously congested and that without a long-term capacity solution and immediate improvements to Lodge Hill, Peartree and Botley junctions, central Oxfordshire will grind to a halt.
Nicola was delighted that the Chancellor listened and announced £50 million for improvements to the A34 as part of last week’s Autumn Statement.
This will fund immediate improvements to the Botley and Peartree junctions on the A34, a ‘Transport Management System’ to give drivers early warning of congestion along the A34 between the M4 and M40 so they can choose alternative routes. And, perhaps most importantly, a new Feasibility Study to determine the long-term future of the road.
I will continue to fight for the vital Diamond Junction at Lodge Hill, which did not qualify for this funding round. Opening up the southern slips at Lodge Hill Junction is now a top priority project for Vale of White Horse District Council, Oxfordshire County Council and the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and a bid for funding is being considered by the Department for Transport.
Chancellor George Osborne says:
‘The Conservatives’ Long-Term Economic Plan allows us to invest today in Oxfordshire and commit up to £50 million to making upgrades on the A34. These plans have been brought to my attention by the excellent Conservative Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon, Nicola Blackwood, who has consistently raised the issues of congestion on this key strategic corridor. She discussed the problems with me personally, and urged us to fund junction improvements and a long term feasibility study.
‘With a strong Conservative voice for Oxford and a government that’s fixing the economy, we are able to commit to funding the A34 with the jobs and opportunities that will bring’.
‘Thousands of my constituents suffer A34 traffic misery on a daily basis yet there has been no major investment for over two decades. I have fought for A34 funding for over two years and at last the Treasury understands we need a strategic solution to the A34 and has committed to finding that solution.
Today’s announcement of £50m for immediate improvements to Peartree and Botley Junctions, support for a Lodge Hill bid, and a new A34 Feasibility Study, is a real breakthrough in tackling congestion on our local roads network but I will not stop campaigning until that long term solution for the A34 has also been signed, sealed and delivered.’