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The Project Control Framework

This framework sets out how we, together with the Department for Transport, manage and deliver major road improvement projects.

M40 Junction 4/A404 Handy Cross Junction Improvement

M40 Junction 4/A404 Handy Cross Junction Improvement

Located in
Area 3Map of the Agency's Operational Areas
Scheme type
Programme of Major SchemesRoad Schemes Managed by the Highways Agency

Where was the project located?
The M40/ A404 Handy Cross junction improvement scheme is located on southern outskirts of High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, where the M40 junction 4 meets the A404 close to the town of Handy Cross.

Why was the scheme needed?
The M40 connects Oxford with London and the M25. The A404 to the south provides a link to the M4 and to the north of the junction is the main route for traffic accessing the centre of High Wycombe. The south of the M40 is located within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is also designated Green Belt.

Prior to the scheme, the M40/A404 junction suffered from high levels of congestion and long queues of traffic, particularly during peak travel times. The queues frequently formed on the A404 approach from the south, and on the slip roads from the M40 (sometimes extending back onto the main M40 carriageway) causing a safety hazard. Considerable development and regeneration in the High Wycombe area also meant that traffic demand was expected to increase on both sides of the M40 junction exceeding the junction capacity and further compounding the problems in this area of the road network.

The primary objectives of the scheme were to:

  • Improve journey times and reliability for trunk road users and local traffic using the junction;
  • Improve safety for all road users;
  • Provide an environmentally acceptable scheme which minimises environmental impacts;
  • Ensure that the scheme is consistent with regional and local planning policy; and
  • Improve accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.

What work was carried out?
To address the problems at the M40/A404 junction, the scheme will separate local and long distance traffic at the junction. To achieve this, the scheme included the following key elements:

  • A new dedicated left turn slip lane between the A404 Marlow Bypass and the M40 towards Oxford;
  • Additional lanes to the M40 slip roads entering the roundabout (from 4 to 5 lanes);
  • An additional lane between the A404 Marlow Hill and the M40 towards London; and
  • A five lane cross link to assist traffic movements between the M40 and the A404 south.
  • Environmental mitigation measures

The scheme opened to traffic in two stages:

  • the widening of the existing slip roads and the five lane crosslink completed in March 2007 and
  • the new dedicated left turn slip completed in May 2007.

How did this benefit road users?
The completion of the M40/A404 Handy Cross junction improvement scheme will provide safer journeys, alleviate congestion, and improve journey time reliability on this section of the road network.

Following scheme completion, we undertake a Post Opening Project Evaluation (POPE) to assess whether the scheme has achieved its anticipated outcomes. The evaluation is generally carried out at one and five years after scheme opening. The results of the POPE allow us to learn lessons and improve future scheme delivery.

Please use the links to learn more about the POPE process and to find the latest POPE report for the M40/A404 Handy Cross Junction Improvement scheme.

How do I find out more information?
If you have any queries about this project you should contact the Highways Agency Information Line by emailing or calling 0300 123 5000.