ROADWORKS to upgrade the surface of the A420 close to Shrivenham have been completed a full week ahead of schedule to the relief of residents.

The programme from Oxford County Council began on 23 July and had been expected to last for seven weeks, but the road is now fully open to traffic once more.

Diversions had been in place for traffic between Swindon and Oxford as a section of the road between the Bourton turn-off and the Watchfield roundabout was impassable.

The £3.5m project is now complete after teams worked through weekends and nights as required.

Oxford County Councillor David Nimmo Smith, cabinet member for transport, said: “This is excellent news and I am sure that local people and the travelling public who use the A420 will be delighted.

“The A420 was in desperate need of significant repair and I am pleased we managed to complete the work before Network Rail close the A417 for their electrification work and before the schools returned. We will continue to work closely with them to mitigate the impact of their works on local communities and the travelling public.

“It is not always possible to do things ahead of schedule, but our engineers and contractors always try their best to work quickly and safely.

“As well as celebrating the early finish I would like to thank the local people and road users who have been very patient during such a major job.”

Shrivenham parish council chairwoman Sarah Day said lessons need to be learned from the handling of the roadworks after a number of contraventions.

“We did not experience the volume of traffic we thought we might get which is a huge plus,” she said. “The problem was that of the traffic we did get through the majority were exceeding the speed limit. That was awful for the older residents attempting to cross the road.

“Another issue was that the signs were put in the wrong place, so Swindon-bound traffic was continuing through Faringdon Road and through Shrivenham, and traffic was backing up from the pinch point there.

“Eventually they changed them the day before the fete and it was lovely after that. It is just a shame it took them so long.

“Within 48 hours we knew there was a serious problem but it took them five weeks to react.

“There was also a lack of enforcement. We were told marshalls would be present to stop HGVs from coming through the village, but we got the same vehicles doing it repeatedly.

“That said the traffic has reduced greatly through the village and it is nice to have a new surface because it might encourage more people to use the A420 because it has been in such a bad state.”