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Report stresses need for 'brain belt' expressway

By Ben Comber

Map Photography: Cambridge City on a Road Map
Map Photography: Cambridge City on a Road Map

The Department for Transport have published a report recommending a new expressway linking Cambridge to Oxford.

The report identifies a lack of connectivity from east to west across 'the brain belt' of Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford. It says the expressway would 'help promote knowledge based growth'.

The report says:"Without strategic transport interventions the forecast increase in travel demand and traffic growth will significantly increase delays and congestion on the primary east-west route, constraining economic growth of the communities within the study area and the key growth areas of Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge."

The report identifies the need for improved connections through the region penetrating main urban areas and local centres, and states that an intervention in the form of an expressway will 'have a positive impact on travel reliability, network resilience, regional and local connectivity which is vital to support economic growth and enable the delivery of new jobs and homes'.

Existing roads would form much of the expressway. The report highlights gaps on the section between the M1 near Milton Keynes and the M40 that would need to be addressed, as well as repeating the perceived weaknesses of the A1 and A428 to Northampton.

The expressway is part of the Road Investment Strategy 2, being one of six Strategic Studies bieng considered for approval before 2020 with construction starting before 2025.


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