The planned Oxford – Cambridge Expressway has been abandoned following a cost-benefit analysis.

The road, which would have linked Oxford with Milton Keynes, was shelved by the Government last year but the Department for Transport (DFT) has now announced it has cancelled the project and will seek alternatives.

The DfT will now work with Highways England and England’s Economic  Heartland (EEH) to develop a report on other options which will support the Arc’s spatial framework which was published last month.

The East-West Rail link remains on track.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is home to cutting-edge research, globally renowned science and technology clusters and some of the most productive places in the country – we want to make sure it has transport fit for such an important region.

“Our analysis shows the Expressway cannot deliver such links in a way that provides value for money for the taxpayer, so I have taken the decision to cancel the project. But we remain committed to boosting transport links in the area, helping us to create jobs and build back better from coronavirus.

“We will continue to work on more targeted, localised road improvements to boost transport in the region, alongside the transformational East-West Rail, in which we have invested £760 million to deliver the next phase.

Mayor Dave Hodgson, chair of EEH’s strategic transport forum, said: “This is a welcome announcement that provides clarity to those planning for the region’s future between Oxford and Milton Keynes.

“As our transport strategy sets out, delivery of strategic schemes, including East-West Rail and mass transit systems, such as those being developed in Cambridgeshire and Milton Keynes, alongside harnessing smart technologies and targeted investment in the road network, are all essential if we are to ensure economic growth while achieving net-zero emissions.

“Work on EEH’s Oxford to Milton Keynes connectivity study begins in March 2021. We will work with partners and Government to explore the connectivity needs of this important corridor and identify the solutions required to support sustainable growth for the long term.”

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