Green light for multi-million-pound scheme to upgrade the A417 Missing Link in Gloucestershire
By Matt Hall | 17th November 2022
On December 16, the government approved a major road upgrade to the A417 between Gloucester and Swindon.
Transport Minister Huw Merriman gave the long-awaited decision for the highways scheme that looks to deliver a safe and resilient free-flowing road while conserving and enhancing the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The scheme hopes to improve the connection between two dual carriageway sections of the A417 at Brockworth and Cowley, and links between the M4 and M5.
On an average day, the road carries approximately 40,000 vehicles and congestion can be frequent and unpredictable, so some motorists divert onto local roads to avoid tailbacks.
National Highways' Chief Executive Nick Harris said: "We're delighted with the Minister's decision. This means we can get going with this major upgrade, which is vital for local communities and the regional South West economy.
"We would like to thank everyone who has worked with us to help shape this vital scheme and provided valuable feedback. We will continue to work closely with local communities as we move towards the start of construction in 2023, making sure everyone is kept informed and disruption is kept to a minimum.
"This is a significant investment of £460m in our road network that will improve road safety, reduce traffic congestion and improve connectivity for road users and local communities."
The Missing Link itself is a three-mile stretch of single-lane carriageway on the A417 between the Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout in Gloucestershire.
The granting of the DCO means preparatory work on the project can begin early next year with construction due to begin later in 2023.
Following the green light, National Highways' A417 project team, including contractor Kier, will be out and about in a mobile exhibition van, to give people an update on the project and answer any questions you may have following the latest announcement.
They can be found on the following dates and times:
- Tuesday 22 November from 11am to 4pm: Royal George Hotel, Birdlip, GL4 8JH
- Wednesday 23 November from 9am to 5pm: National Star College, Ullenwood Manor Road, Ullenwood, Cheltenham, GL53 9QU
- Thursday 24 November from 9am to 5pm: Brockworth Community Centre, Court Rd, Brockworth, Gloucester, GL3 4ET
- Friday 25 November from 8am to 2pm: Outside M&S, 173 High St, Cheltenham, GL50 1DF
Paul Baker, programme director - UK South for Kier Highways, said: "Kier Highways is proud to be working in conjunction with National Highways on this notable scheme - the A417 Missing Link, which is a crucial connection between the M5 and Swindon.
"We will work together to build a landscape-led design that will enhance the strategic network whilst preserving this special AONB for the local community.
"We will work closely with our stakeholders and customers to minimise disruption and stay connected throughout to provide reassurance of our commitment to you until this major project is concluded."
David Owen, GFirst LEP CEO, added: "We are delighted that the Minister has now given his full approval to the A417 'Missing Link' scheme. It is a daily source of delays and frustration for motorists and hauliers and sadly may have contributed to a number of fatalities and serious injuries over recent years.
"We believe that National Highways has developed an exceptional scheme which will not only resolve the critical transport issues but will minimise the environmental impact locally and, in some aspects, make a positive contribution to the landscape with new bridges for both the Cotswold and Gloucestershire Ways and the re-greening of some of the current route.
"We very much look forward to seeing the project start on-site in 2023."
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