CAMPAIGNERS are calling for immediate action to rebuild a 'quickly deteriorating' link road through Bicester in the same week the government pledged £6.7m towards the work.

Howes Lane has long been a concern for drivers who say the busy main road through Bicester can no longer cope with the amount of traffic thundering through the town.

Proposals are in place to completely rebuild the road as part of the 6,000-home eco town development in NW Bicester, as well as create a new tunnel under the railway to improve the current junction with Bucknell Road.

Bicester Town mayor and Oxfordshire County councillor for Bicester West Les Sibley said: "I understand this money has been awarded to deliver the new tunnel at the junction with Howes Lane and the realignment of the road will be down the developers of the eco town.

"So, it is good news that at long last the starting gun has been fired and the wheels are in motion for a project which has been a long time coming.

"But we need action now, we need to get the realignment of the road done sooner rather than later as it is a nightmare situation for people today.

"It is already very congested and had yet again another crash just recently.

"With more developments going up you get more vehicles coming through Howes Lane and traffic just tails back."

Mr Sibley and nearby residents say they have been told construction of the new tunnel under the railway wouldn't start until Christmas 2019.

Derwent Green Residents Group, many of whom have homes backing on to Howes Lane, say the it is vital the council takes immediate action to improve safety and the lives of those living nearby.

The group has long been campaigning for a 30mph speed limit and 7.5tonne weight limit whilst it waits for the realignment.

Group chairman Stephen Rand said: "The current road is becoming more damaged and more dangerous every day, not least because of the dramatic increase in construction traffic.

"Action is needed now."

The successful bid by Cherwell District Council for improving Howes Lane was announced on February 1 as part of the government's Industrial Strategy ploughing £5billion into local authority projects.

Bicester Town councillor Jolanta Lis said: "Howes Lane, as the name suggests, is a small country lane with residential properties backing onto it.

"Over recent years it has carried an ever increasing flow of traffic as a result of housing and commercial developments and the need for its realignment has been recognised and incorporated into plans for North West Bicester Eco Town. This funding is a very good starting point to move the project forward."

Banbury MP Victoria Prentis added: "We all recognise that Bicester is a rapidly growing town. It is essential that we secure investment to improve the town’s infrastructure.

"The announcement is a start but we still have lots of work to do on the roads in Bicester, particularly at the London Road crossing."