A series of virtual meetings have taken place between Baroness Vere, Roads Minister, Gloucestershire MPs and Highways England (HE) to discuss the A417 Missing Link project.
Good progress is being made by Highways England and their strategic stakeholders as they seek to deliver a solution to the long-standing congestion and safety problems on this important route between Cheltenham and Gloucester, Cirencester and Swindon.
The Department for Transport (DfT) and HM Treasury (HMT) recently approved funding of £40m, which will enable HE to complete the preliminary design and the Development Consent Order planning process. It will also see HE appoint the contractor who will construct the improved road.
HE continues to work with stakeholders on their ‘landscape led highway scheme’ vision and received valuable feedback from the public consultation last Autumn. This has resulted in changes to the gradient of Crickley Hill and the proposed green bridge near Air Balloon, and improvements to the B4070 Birdlip Road and Cowley Junction. These changes will reduce the amount of excavation, improve access for all, and reduce rat running.
HE will present these changes during a new public consultation, running from mid-October to mid-November. This latest consultation will be an opportunity to have your say on the changes and comment on anything that HE should consider as they complete their design.
Following the consultation, HE will complete their design and plan to submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) in the first half on 2021. This planning consent process will be completed in 2022, with construction expected to start in early 2023 and the new road open for traffic in 2026.
Gloucestershire MPs said “While we are disappointed that the scheme has slipped by a year, we hope this latest consultation will be the last and we are particularly pleased that due to the redesigned reduced gradient all the soil will now be used on site. We will be constantly monitoring HE’s progress to ensure the scheme does not slip any further.”