WORK on redeveloping one of Oxford’s busiest junctions will begin in just two months.
Oxfordshire County Council is planning to start preparatory work on Frideswide Square in September, with roadworks lasting until December 2015.
County council leader Ian Hudspeth said there would be a month-long break in the roadworks over the Christmas period.
The square at the top of Botley Road and entrance to the station is currently controlled by sets of traffic lights but will be redesigned with three roundabouts under the £5.5m plan to create a boulevard.
The council has just released this new artist’s impression of what it might look like. Mr Hudspeth said: “In September we will start enabling work which is getting everything prepared and making sure there are no issues with the utilities rather than digging a hole in the road and stumbling across a pipe half way through.
“It does mean there will be some disruption from September but there will be a break over Christmas.
“What we are trying to do is to encourage people to think of alternative ways of coming into Oxford because once there are roadworks on, there will be disruption.”
The preparatory work will finish in December with the construction of the new junction starting in February and running until the end of the year.
A consultation will be held in August to help the county council find out what people would like the streetscape to look like, including issues such as the paving and benches. Mr Hudspeth said: “If everybody turns around and says we need proper Yorkstone slabs there will be extra cost involved and we always look to go with the best quality possible.
“But we have got to strike the balance between having a good, working junction that provides access for cars, pedestrians, buses and cyclists and a junction that is pretty.”
The boulevard-style design will involve creating a large roundabout at the entrance of the station and two mini-roundabouts at the other end of the square in front of the Royal Oxford Hotel.
During the roadworks, traffic will be diverted through Becket Street, up Osney Lane, along Hollybush Row and into Park End Street.
Oxford City Council is set to agree this week to give £670,000 towards the scheme.
The council’s head of city development Michael Crofton Briggs said: “Frideswide Square is of strategic importance in Oxford and Oxfordshire’s road network, handling tens of thousands of car, bus, cycle and pedestrian journeys every day. It is also the gateway to the area for rail passengers. An estimated 5.5m people pass through the station each year. Frideswide Square is the main point of arrival and departure for people using the station.”