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Gloucestershire Business News

Images of latest designs for A417 Missing Link superhighway

Images have been released showing the latest designs for the A417 Missing Link superhighway.

Preliminary designs for the £460million project have already been approved by the government but have now been tweaked following consultation with stakeholders.

National Highways has used feedback to made significant changes to how the new road, bridges and landscape features will look.

They include making the Cotswold Way crossing slimmer by removing a proposed viewing platform area.

In contrast the Gloucestershire Way crossing, designed to allow animals such as bats, badgers and barn owls to cross safely, has been made wider. It has been increased from 25m to 37m to allow more grassland to be planted making it easier for wildlife to cross the A417 and get around the area.

The rock slopes at Crickley Hill have been softened following feedback and made to look more natural. The slopes will be between 25-45 degrees instead of 90 degrees and will be seeded with native plants.

National Highways, who are delivering the project alongside contractors Kier, said: "We've spent the last few months finalising the design with our stakeholders, who have helped us with their local knowledge and understanding of the environment. We will continue to work with them throughout the build to ensure we meet our landscape-led vision."

The Secretary of State for Transport gave the project the go-ahead  on November 16, 2022 and shortly afterwards funding for construction was secured from the Treasury.

Main construction work on the four-year project is due to start in the autumn. It will see a new dual-carriageway built, running through Birdlip from the Air Balloon to Cowley roundabouts. The gradient of the Crickley Hill section will also be reduced and thenow-closed Air Balloon pub demolished.

In preparation for the project, digs will be carried out with Cotswold Archaeology over the next twelve months to chart and preserve any items found on the 82 acre site.

It is hoped archaeology dating back to the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Romans will be found and donated to a nearby museum.

Preparatory works have now started on site and will include:

- Install environmental mitigation, to reduce the impact of the road on the local environment. This includes things like creating new habitats and installing animal fencing and bat boxes to help protect wildlife during construction

- Divert public rights of way so they avoid areas where we will be working

- Complete archaeological digs, which will involve searching and documenting any archaeological remains or artefacts to preserve the history of the area

- Divert and protect utilities such as electricity cables

- Set up the construction site, which includes setting up site offices, construction compounds and building access roads

- Install road signage, which will involve a small number of overnight, one lane closures on the A417

- Complete ground investigation surveys to check ground conditions before construction and build on the vast amount of data already collected

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