HS2 construction work to bring misery for motorists

Computer-generated visuals of a high speed train
Computer-generated visuals of a high speed train

Key roads in to Banbury could be swamped with an extra 6,000 vehicle journeys a month during the busiest periods of construction work on the controversial HS2 high speed rail link.

The most recent environmental statement produced by HS2 Limited for the first phase of the project, starting in 2017, highlights ‘major adverse effects’ on the M40 slip roads, the A422 Hennef Way, the A361 Williamscot Hill junction and the Hennef Way/Ermont Way junction.

The report states that should the project go ahead, changes in traffic flows will lead to a ‘significant increase in delay and congestion to vehicle users’ in locations between the M40 and the A423 Southam Road.

Vehicles will mainly be accessing a construction base known as the Oxford Canal north embankment main compound, where work is scheduled to start in 2018 and estimated to continue for five years. The report estimates an additional 40-60 two-way HGV journeys per day and an additional 160-245 two-way journeys per day made by cars or light goods vehicles – equating to a minimum of 6,000 journeys per month. This volume of traffic is estimated to last 39 months.

Oxfordshire County councillor Mike Beal for Grimsbury & Castle Division, who will raise a motion regarding the town’s traffic issue at a county council meeting next week, said: “If HS2 goes ahead there will be a potentially horrific impact on road users in Banbury. And for what benefit? Nobody in Oxfordshire is going to be able to use HS2, we just get the disruption.”

Mr Beal will also renew calls for a relief road linking Banbury with the M40.

He said: “It’s a wider issue than HS2 – it’s time Banbury is relieved. A while ago an east/south link road was planned through the back of Grimsbury which would potentially take traffic away.”

In addition to delays in Banbury, HS2 work is also expected to impact heavily on motorists who use the A361 between Banbury and Daventry. Construction work for a green tunnel at Chipping Warden could result in an additional 1,500 two-way daily journeys on the A361 – at least 32,400 extra journeys per month for 26 months.

Earlier this month, Cherwell district councillors agreed to challenge the Hybrid Bill of the HS2 when it goes through parliament.

Leader of the council Barry Wood said: “We want to petition the Hybrid Bill in order to protect residents from some of the effects of the project.

“In particular we highlight the large amount of disruption HS2 will cause in the district during its construction phase if it goes ahead.

“The effect of large amounts of construction traffic, much of it using junction 10 of the M40, will have a detrimental impact on traffic flow through the area for up to three years and pose a potential nightmare for villages in the construction zone.”

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