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Volume 130: debated on Wednesday 30 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the latest estimate of the completion date of the M40 motorway; and whether final decisions have been taken as to the number of lanes in each carriageway throughout its length.

Subject to the outcome of the public inquiry held recently into the WaterstockWendlebury section, we plan to complete the whole of the M40 extension from Oxford to Birmingham during 1991.The sections north of Wendlebury will be dual three-lane standard. Between Waterstock and Wendlebury, where traffic flows are forecast to be much lower, we are proposing dual two-lane standard but with the scheme designed to accommodate provision of third lanes when warranted by traffic levels. The question of standards on this section was discussed in detail at the recent inquiry. We are currently awaiting the inspector's report.