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A34 Traffic News

The A34 is a major route stretching 151 miles from Winchester in Hampshire all the way up to Salford, in Greater Manchester. The original route of the A34 was much shorter than that - just running from Winchester to Oxford. It was extended further north towards Manchester in April 1935.

The road has undergone transformations over the years, with many sections renumbered and various bypasses being added including Newbury in 1998 and the long-awaited Alderley Edge bypass in 2010.

This road is made up of two sections, where the northern part runs through Manchester before passing through Congleton and Newcastle-under-Lyme. The A34 then carries on running south via Stafford and Walsall, through the centre of Birmingham, merging with the A41 briefly, before meeting the M42 south of Solihull.

Essentially, the route joins the motorway network then resumes. 

The southern section of the A34 starts at the Bicester junction and crosses the River Thames. It bypasses Newbury before finishing at Winchester at the southern turning of the M3.

The A34 is joined by sections of the M3 and M40 to play an important role in carrying freight from Southampton’s major port to the Midlands. 

This route is a dual carriageway for its entirety and doubles up as a ring road around Oxford - at both ends the road finishes on the motorway via a roundabout.

Worst Junctions on the A34

If you’re planning to travel on this major dual carriageway, first look up the latest A34 traffic updates to help you avoid congestion, roadworks and accidents. Due to the sheer distance the road covers, it encounters cities and large towns meaning you will likely encounter large volumes of traffic.

The following junctions are common hotspots:

Peartree Interchange

This junction is north-west of Oxford and is the point where several major roads meet. Here, the A34 is running north-south, the A40 east-west (both bypassing the city) and the A44 is the major road out of the city. There are a series of roundabouts to connect multiple roads together and the junction was built in various stages by separate groups, making it complicated to navigate. The installed Peartree Services and the park and ride site cause a big build up of traffic, further complicating this junction.

Great Barr Interchange

Where junction 7 of the M6 meets the A34 you’ll find the Great Barr Interchange. This three-level stacked interchange would function perfectly were it not for one issue. The slip roads to and from the M6 to the west are connected to the inside of the roundabout instead of the outside. It’s confusing and means the M6 traffic joins the roundabout on one side. Plus, eastbound M6 vehicles pass an entry point to go back where they just came from before they can exit.

Chieveley and Wendlebury

The A34 between the M4 at Chieveley and the M40 at Wendlebury suffers from congestion, so much so that a new technology scheme has been planned to ease problems.

Chilton Interchange

This ‘dumbbell interchange’, where the A34 meets the A4185 at Chilton Junction, has suffered from a history of fatal accidents. This junction experiences high traffic levels daily, so be sure to take care in this area.

Accident Hotspots on the A34

In early 2018, as a result of a Freedom of Information request, figures revealed that there were 471 crashes on the A34 in just over five years. The A34 is an extremely long stretch of road which encounters busy destinations all along the route. Therefore, this road is unfortunately notorious for a high number of traffic incidents. Always check for A34 traffic news before you travel.

The brow of the hill on the A34, near junction 13 of the M4 and between the villages of East and West Ilsley has been named an accident hotspot by motorists using the route. The tragic incident in 2016 where a family were killed after a lorry hit traffic is the most high-profile recent crash in this area.

The A34 slip road at Bullington Cross near Winchester in Hampshire is well known for safety hazards - it’s an incident cluster site as a result of traffic merging. Meanwhile, where the M40 junction 9 meets the A34 - and also where the A4185 Chilton Junction and the A34 meet - have a record of fatal accidents.

Bigger congestion issues are anticipated in the longer term due to ever-increasing traffic volumes, especially at the junction between the A303 and A34. There is also persistent and increasing traffic congestion and concentration of incidents on the A34 from the M4 to Oxford.

Upcoming A34 Major Roadworks

This major road stretches 151 miles so, as you may expect, the A34 is regularly undergoing roadworks and improvements. By using the RAC Route Planner service you can identify and account for potential delays in your journey with travel news from the A34.

Upcoming major roadworks on the A34 include:

Oxford to Cambridge expressway

This planned expressway has been planned to fill a missing 30-mile gap between the M1 at Milton Keynes and the M40 at Oxford and to relieve pressure on the A34. The indicative timetable currently has a public consultation planned in for Autumn 2019, with construction beginning in 2025 and finishing in 2030.

A34 technology enhancements

A scheme has been proposed to install CCTV cameras and driver information systems at a  number of locations along the A34. This is proposed between the M4 at Chieveley and the M40 at Wendlebury. The scheme also proposes to introduce ‘vehicle detection loops’ which detect when traffic is mounting or when it’s slowing down. The planned work is due to start in 2020 with the end date yet to be confirmed.