Plans for road between Cambridge and Oxford have been scrapped

The Transport Secretary’s announcement will cut off Oxford from the UK’s primary centre of learning

Plans for an expressway between Cambridge and Oxford have been scrapped, according to an announcement by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps today.

Dubbed “the brain-belt expressway”, plans for the £3.5 billion road have been abandoned following extensive analysis and local engagement because the proposal was not deemed cost-effective for the taxpayer.

The Department for Transport said that, alongside Highways England and England’s Economic Heartland, it would now look at “more targeted road interventions in the area.” The government also remains committed to East West Rail which it says will provide crucial infrastructure for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

Grant Shapps said: “Our analysis shows the expressway cannot deliver [transport fit for such an important region] 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.”

Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, is reported to have “reacted with delight” to the Transport Secretary’s announcement. He said: “Massive new road-building is exactly the wrong approach when we face a climate crisis. What we need is a non-diesel East-West rail-link between Cambridge and Oxford.”

A first-year student at Peterhouse who lives in Oxford told The Tab: “I’m glad it’s been cancelled, to be honest. I can’t really see the benefit of such a large infrastructure project when local infrastructure is the real problem.” However, reflecting on car journeys between Cambridge and Oxford, he added: “This does mean we’re stuck with the vomit-inducing roundabouts of Milton Keynes for the foreseeable future.”

Feature image credit: Flickr and Wikimedia Commons