Ox-Cam Expressway project cancelled

The expressway planned to link Milton Keynes, Cambridge and Oxford. Credit: ITV

The Oxford to Cambridge expressway has been formally cancelled following pause last March.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced the cancellation of the project after analysis confirmed the proposed project was not cost-effective.

Opposition grows to £3.5bn Oxford to Cambridge Expressway

The Expressway was planned to go from Oxford, via Milton Keynes, and end up in Cambridge.

It was projected to cost £3.5 billion - and had plans for around a million new homes being built. The plans have been highly controversial, with a number of protests held against the Expressway.

The Expressway was planned to go from Oxford, via Milton Keynes, and end up in Cambridge. Credit: Highways England

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 Covid.

“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 £760m to deliver the next phase.”

In response to the statement from the Transport Secretary on the cancellation of the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, Councillor Susan Brown, the Leader of Oxford City Council said:

 “I welcome the announcement that the Government’s proposed East-West Expressway has now been cancelled. The Government should be focused on investing in more sustainable transport. We will be watching to see if the money set aside for this unwanted scheme will be put into East West Rail, which with the right investment can provide fast, fully electric transport linking the major employment hubs across the Oxford Cambridge Arc.

 “Connectivity across the Arc is vital for its future economic growth and with more than half of people working in Oxford and Cambridge commuting in from outside those cities, people will continue to rely on their cars until the transport network offers them a better alternative.

“We must start investing in transport that provides viable door to door journeys by connecting rail, buses, cycling and walking routes. That means a strategic approach across the whole region. The replacement of Oxford Station and expansion of rail capacity throughout Oxfordshire will become more important than ever, East West Rail should extend westwards beyond Oxford to Swindon and Bristol, and eastwards beyond Cambridge to Norwich. The government still has a way to go to show their vision on this.

 “Councils across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc have been arguing that the short-sighted cuts made by government earlier this year to the project need to be reversed.”

MP for Buckingham, Greg Smith, said local government can now look at how to improve existing roads.