THE morning commute from Witney to Oxford can be a trying experience.

And drivers on the A40 have long been begging for relief.

Today will see the beginning of Oxfordshire County Council’s four-phase transport strategy, starting with a £2.5m set of improvements to the Ducklington Lane approach to the A40, using extra lanes.

The scheme will be followed by the creation of a new junction on the dual carriageway with Downs Road, to join with the soon-to-be-built West Witney 1,000-home development.

But some don’t believe it is enough to improve the road and Bampton farmer John Hook has put forward a creative solution to Witney’s traffic woes.

He is proposing that a cable car system be built along the 12-mile route via Farmoor and Eynsham.

Mr Hook said: “I have had the idea for about 30 years and put it down on a county council survey when they were asking about what should be done about the A40.

“It could follow where the railway line used to be between Witney and Oxford, with various stations on the way.

“It could obviously only take people and keep freight travelling on roads, but it would help reduce these vast queues of traffic with only one person sitting in each car.

“I haven’t costed it, but because it would not take up much space on the ground it would not be disruptive.”

Mr Hook said the idea had come from his time skiing.

When the Oxford Mail approached ski gondola firm Snowflex about the potential cost of the scheme, a speculative £5m to £25m was suggested.

Oxfordshire County Council transport chief David Nimmo-Smith said: “I don’t want to knock this idea on the head, because it is interesting.

“But I can foresee a lot of issues, like the costs to install it and also of maintenance.

“There are more economic ways to improve transport links between Witney and Oxford.

“We are looking at a number of measures in the short-term at the moment, but it is always good to look at long-term ones too, like this gentleman.”

The idea follows calls from two petitions demanding improvements to the A40.

Northleach resident Colin Holmes drives to work in Woodstock Road, Oxford, along the A40.

He set up a petition, signed by 127 people, asking the Department of Transport to reopen the Witney to Oxford railway line, make the A40 a dual carriageway and build a tram system.

And 413 people have signed a e-petition set up by West Oxfordshire District Council Labour group leader Duncan Enright calling for a four-way junction on the A40 at Shores Green.