The Oxford to Cambridge Expressway will run alongside the planned East West Rail line currently being built, it has been revealed.
Roads Minister Jesse Norman announced that the expressway would be open by 2030, shaving 40 minutes off the current journey time between the two cities.
The chosen route, Corridor B, was one of three corridors under review by Highways England.
Norman said: “The government is taking the big decisions on infrastructure, working to maximise growth and productivity across the UK.
“England’s Economic Heartland, as it has been called, already plays a crucial role in powering the UK’s growth, science and innovation, but there is no single route to connect Oxford and Cambridge.
“This expressway will enhance both transport connectivity and growth across the region for the benefit of the UK as a whole.”
The choice of route means that the government has ruled out construction in the area of the Otmoor nature reserve, following concerns that it would damage the environment.
The process of designing a specific route will now get under way, involving extensive further consultation with local people to find the best available options.
Oxford to Cambridge corridor map
Speaking at a conference for England’s Economic Heartland, Highways England senior planning manager Ian Parsons added: “The fact that the line will follow the East West rail provides the public with the best option in terms of travel.
“In conjunction with the rail line, it allows people to make the best decision for them about their journeys.”
He added: “That said, we still need to do more in the area. The expressway will bring a spine to the area but if you don’t connect it with the rest of the network then you won’t get the overall benefit.”
Parsons added that building the new link close to the East West rail link will also offer more options for the commercial development of up to 1 million new homes, in line with proposals by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).
A NIC spokesman said: “We are pleased to see progress in defining the corridor for this vital link between Oxford and Cambridge - reflecting the findings of our report.
“This, if aligned with improved rail links, could help unlock much-needed homes across the area, helping to secure its economic future for decades to come.”
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