There will be ‘something old and something new’ when Oxfordshire’s latest major transport improvement - the £11.65m Harwell Link Road – opens on 28 March.
Vintage vehicles from the golden age of motoring will be joined by a ‘driverless’ car, a hydrogen powered vehicle and electric bicycles and be the first to travel down the brand new route.
The transport fleet will mark the end of work and a new beginning for transport in the area.
Construction started in December 2016 and since then the construction team has completed work including:
- Surfacing road and footpaths measuring around 22,000m².
- Importing around 200,000 tonnes of fill material.
- Installing 4,600m of new drains
- Put in 3,000m of new electrical ducting
- Laying 2.5km of kerbs
- Landscaping including 39,000m² seeding and 40,000 plants and trees
County Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet member for environment and economy, said: “The Harwell Link Road is something that local people have wanted for a long time and we are now approaching the time when people can start to get the benefits.
“The new link road has been delivered both on schedule and on budget – both of which are very good things.
“This was a large and challenging project, but the benefits should prove to be worth the wait. I’d like to thank local people for their support so far.”
Ed Vaizey, MP for Wantage, said: “I am delighted to be here today to see the opening of this great new road link, which will have a positive impact on the day to day lives of many of my constituents. I am also extremely pleased that Oxfordshire as a whole is in the process of securing Government funding for even more projects like this in the coming years.”
An array of benefits for the local area
More than 5,000 people work at Harwell Campus each day and the newly opened road, with its cycle and pedestrian facilities, will deliver an array of benefits to those currently living near and working at the campus.
By improving the local transport network the road will provide the confidence necessary to attract more business investment and high-skilled employees.
The project was also designed to improve national and local connectivity and boost local employment opportunities with links to new housing developments and further improvements to the road networks planned.
A positive impact on thousands of people
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “The completion of such a significant project – that will have a positive impact on thousands of people and businesses based in the south of Oxfordshire – is excellent news and we would like to thank all partners involved with the development of the Harwell Link Road.
“Ensuring we benefit from an infrastructure that not only supports better connectivity – but also the dynamic economic growth that Oxfordshire is currently experiencing – really is key. This scheme will increase reliability and in-turn, provide the confidence necessary to attract business investment and high-skilled employees.
“Oxfordshire is a key driver behind the national economy and, through continued investment – of which we have helped to secure over £400m-worth of funding since 2011 – we believe we can play a key role supporting a globally-facing UK economy.”
Councillor Reg Waite, Chairman of Vale of White Horse District Council said: “With new housing developments in Harwell and Didcot along with plans to expand Harwell Campus, the new link road forms part of the vital infrastructure needed to help reduce congestion along the High Street in the village.”
About the road
The road connects the B4493 to the A417 and is the latest in a package of improvements from the Science Vale Transport Strategy to be built and is designed to improve access to the Enterprise Zone and reduce local congestion.
It provides a more direct route from housing developments west of Didcot at Great Western Park and Valley Park to Harwell Oxford Campus.
The Harwell Link Road scheme is part of a wider package of measures designed to improve connectivity and reduce congestion
The road will:
- Increase capacity of the local road network
- Relieve capacity constraints elsewhere on the network
- Reduce traffic through Harwell village
- Provide greater route choice
The road was built by contractors Galliford Try and was Supported by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership Local Growth Fund.