As I’m sure many readers have noticed, the reduced road traffic as a result of lockdown has demonstrated the benefits of cycling and walking to get around Abingdon and has resulted in cleaner air.

That’s why I’m calling on Oxfordshire County Council to start work on the shovel-ready junction improvement project at Lodge Hill.

The junction forces southbound traffic through the town, adding to congestion and damaging air quality.

An improvement plan to alleviate this, by completing the diamond junction, has existed for years and there are no more excuses for inaction.

With the housing estates planned for the north of Abingdon, it is vital that we have the infrastructure in place before Lodge Hill is put under even more pressure.

I have already written to the Department for Transport, asking about whether the project will be delayed further due to Covid-19, and they have told me the decision lies squarely with Oxfordshire County Council.

If anything, in the present circumstances the completion of Lodge Hill should be fast-tracked, not put in the slow lane.

So, I’ve called on Ian Hudspeth, Conservative leader of the county council, to act.

I’m urging him to clarify if the county council has made a bid to Government for the existing Lodge Hill plan to be fast-tracked as a ‘shovel-ready’ project during the coronavirus crisis.

Fixing Lodge Hill will benefit more than just drivers. The traffic makes it harder to cycle and walk. Improving the junction will help reduce car congestion, with their engines causing unnecessary air pollution, in the middle of town.

A better junction will also mean better public transport between Abingdon and Oxford, because the bus route is regularly heavily affected by this traffic.

The county council could use the junction improvement, along with renewing our cycle and walking paths, to help encourage active greener transport.

I hear regularly from my constituents in Abingdon that the traffic caused by the junction is a concern; they tell me that they are worried about getting into work on time and the disruption caused to their daily lives.

Along with scrapping the Expressway and restoring local rail routes in Oxfordshire, this is a critical issue for constituents, and they understand best what the local need is.

The county council should listen to them and not use coronavirus as another excuse to delay further, but take the opportunity presented by Government to fast track infrastructure projects and deliver this achievable improvement.

The lockdown has shown us what a difference lower traffic levels make to the air quality and congestion in and around Abingdon and improving Lodge Hill will help make that permanent.