Long-awaited £3.5 million plans to help ease major congestion at a Marlow junction plagued by long rush hour delays have taken a step forward this week.

Improvements to the Westhorpe Interchange – the roundabout with the A404 and the A4155 – have been talked about for years, but the plans have finally moved forward as councillors on the shadow executive of the new Buckinghamshire Council agreed the next stage.

On Tuesday morning, councillors said yes to moving forward with designs for the junction overhaul, as well as giving the go-ahead for ground investigation work to be carried out.

Ian McGowan, project manager at Bucks County Council, told councillors they want to come back in the summer with more specific plans for the new Buckinghamshire Council to look at – with intentions of being “on site” early next year.

Globe Park, which is one of the largest business parks in the south of the county, has seen “historic problems with access delays arising from congestion” – leaving around one third of the business park’s commercial sites empty.

This means the park is currently losing out on more than 1,180 potential employees because of a lack of businesses in there.

Motorists and commuters who travel along the A404 near Marlow at peak hours are also currently faced with long northbound queues on the slip road – especially during the morning rush hour.

Council reports suggest that the preferred option for improving delays would be for a new slip road into Globe Park as well as new traffic signals.

When funding for the project was first secured back in 2016, it was hoped that the work would be finished by March 2019.

Because the plans are still in an early stage, it is predicted the project could cost between £3.2 million and £3.5 million.

The planned overhaul of the busy junction was welcomed by councillors at Tuesday’s meeting.

Cllr Tony Green said: “I support this, there has long been an issue of businesses getting their goods and their staff on and off the A404. I think this will be greatly welcome by them and I’m pleased we are moving forward with this to alleviate some of the problems.”

Wycombe District Council leader Katrina Wood added: “It is very much needed in the area. To continue the sustainability of the park, this is definitely needed.”

Although the initial project is only for improvements on the northbound A404 carriageway, Mr McGowan said they “haven’t ruled out” doing further work on the southbound exit, adding: “It is a work in progress.”