Gloucestershire: New Idea For 'Missing Link'
22 January 2014, 09:15
People across Gloucestershire and beyond are getting behind Gloucestershire County Council's campaign to secure funding to sort out the A417 'missing link'.
With more than 1000 people registering their support already, the council is asking people to get behind the campaign and support the A417 loop to convince the government to provide the £250million needed to fix the problem.
The Highways Agency will set out its future road scheme priorities at the end of March this year, as part of its ongoing Route Based Strategy work, and the council has launched a campaign to see the missing link solution - the A417 loop - added to the list.
If the A417 loop is added to the list there's a much higher chance of securing the funding needed when the government is allocating cash in spring 2015.
The window of opportunity to take action is open until the end of March 2014, and it's unlikely the chance will come up again for many years to come. Local business owners and commuters are especially urged to show their support for the A417 loop by signing up and pledging their backing at www.a417missinglink.co.uk.
Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said:''I'm delighted that more than 1000 people have backed the campaign already. Please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to register their support as well. This is our one chance to show the government how important this scheme is to our county.
''Now is the time for us to make our case heard. We firmly believe the A417 loop is the way forward and we have to make sure the government knows we're serious.''
The missing link is a 5km stretch of single carriageway on the A417 with the remaining route between the M4 at Swindon and M5 at Gloucester being dual carriageway.
The route, which sees more than 34,000 vehicles a day, is a significant bottleneck and has the worst average vehicle delay of all strategic routes in the South West. It has also seen more that than 340 casualties in the past 15 years.
The Air Balloon roundabout, which is a key part of the missing link section, is forecasted to be running 30% over capacity by 2026. Other solutions, including a tunnel which would cost £1billion, have been ruled out on cost and environmental grounds.