The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway is a proposed grade-separated dual carriageway between the A34 near Oxford and the A14 near Cambridge, via Milton Keynes.

The proposal aims to establish a route by linking some existing roads and building new ones. The case is set out in a “Strategic Study for the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford corridor”, published by National Infrastructure Commission in November 2016. The NIC sees the road as being of national strategic importance; alongside its report, the Commission sponsored a contest to encourage suggestions for how urban spaces may be developed along the proposed route.

At the time, the National Infrastructure Commission said the new road and the East-West Rail project had to “be built as quickly as possible to unlock land for new homes” in the area known as the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

The Department for Transport and Highways England said they will “undertake further work on other potential road projects” between the two university cities instead.

They said that work would seek to reduce congestion in other areas between them.

The government said it hopes the new work – announced in its Road Investment Strategy 2 – would “alleviate congestion around the Arc’s major economic centres, such as Milton Keynes”.

The rail project is widely supported and work on it continues, however the new road has been labelled potentially “catastrophic” by campaigners who worry about environmental damage.

In November, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the new road was “not environmentally friendly” and would be subject to an urgent review.

As of today (12th March 2012) the Department for Transport has issued an announcement stating that it has decided to pause progressing any further development of the scheme: Oxford to Cambridge expressway pause. Director David Frisby said about the recent “pause”:

“Whilst the East to West corridor is emerging as a vitally important opportunity to deliver housing growth; in this instance the government is right in calling for a short pause. Particularly in light of the recent court ruling against growth at Heathrow not tackling climate change, as per the Paris Climate Agreement. This suggests that we may be beginning to see a move away from large infrastructure projects such as the Expressway, in favour of a more sustainable approach to delivering large scale development.”

At mode transport planning we feel that there is a real opportunity for the OX-Cam growth corridor and we will be sure to monitor Dft’s progress, as the corridor could be a showcase for what can be done in terms of connecting communities, commerce and academia via cutting edge sustainable travel initiatives.