Sat, 08 Feb 2020
THERE have been fresh calls to improve safety and reduce congestion on the A34.
An event is now being planned to put together a comprehensive strategy for the road.
Planning and design specialist Barton Willmore and engineering consultancy Hydrock say the route is overlooked when it comes to strategic planning and investment.
They have teamed up to call on local authorities along the A34, Highways England, MPs and interest groups to come together to formulate an action plan to drive change.
Barton Willmore partner Robin Shepherd said: “The A34 carries upwards of 50,000 vehicles a day and is a vital economic corridor, linking the business and trade centres of the Thames Valley and Midlands to the port gateways in the South.
“However, it is plagued by issues, including an average of eight accidents a month, and capacity challenges.
“Given that the A34 is vital to the prosperity and economic growth of the Thames Valley, Central South and the UK, it suffers from a bafflingly low profile.
“It’s simply not on the agenda in the debate about the future of our national and regional transport network.
“Our call for action is clear – we need a solution, and to achieve that we need joined-up thinking.
“The local authorities, agencies, statutory bodies, stakeholders and transport providers whose areas the A34 runs through need to come together and collaborate to find a comprehensive, effective and long-term answer.
“We know this is a challenge, and that the financial cost of tackling the A34 in a strategic, holistic way that truly drives growth and improves safety will be high – but we should not be looking at the cost of action, we should be considering its value.
“The cost of not acting may be far higher than any investment made to tackle the issues.”
Hydrock technical director Emily Pearson, said: “A Freedom of Information request granted in 2018 revealed that there were 471 crashes on the route in five years – roughly eight a month.
“These accidents are coupled with regular traffic jams and capacity challenges at key interchanges
“It’s true that there have been some encouraging signs, including a proposed major upgrade of M3 Junction 9 and a new Oxford-bound bus lane on the A34 agreed by the Oxfordshire Growth Board.
“However, these are all conducted on a piecemeal basis, and real change is hamstrung by the lack of an overall strategy.
“We believe that a comprehensive, workable strategy is now long overdue, and to kickstart that process, the teams at Hydrock and Barton Willmore are focusing on the issue this year with a view to coming up with a viable action plan for change.”
A joint Barton Willmore and Hydrock event is to be held later this year to bring stakeholders together to debate the problems and possible solutions, including public transport, smart technology and behavioural change.
To register interest in the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org