Miss­ing Link ‘Great news’ as plan for new route takes step for­ward

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS - Phillip THOMP­SON phillip.thomp­[email protected]­plc.com

THE pub­lic will be in­vited to view an up­dated de­sign of the A417 Miss­ing Link af­ter the am­bi­tious scheme “passed a ma­jor mile­stone”.

A de­ci­sion made by Trans­port Sec­re­tary Grant Shapps will al­low the pro­ject to move to the next stage of the process – which is a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion, High­ways Eng­land would then move to sub­mit a De­vel­op­ment Con­sent Or­der (DCO) plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion.

The Con­ser­va­tive cab­i­net at Glouces­ter­shire County Coun­cil has wel­comed the de­ci­sion.

They said the coun­cil had been lob­by­ing for 20 years to re­place the sin­gle car­riage way sec­tion of the road, which links Glouces­ter­shire with Swin­don, Lon­don and the South East.

They added it is a “peren­nial cause of con­ges­tion, air pol­lu­tion and se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents”.

The scheme – Op­tion 30 – is a 3.4mile route fol­low­ing the align­ment of the ex­ist­ing A417 at Crick­ley Hill with less of a slope.

A new sec­tion of road would be built through Shab Hill to the east of the ex­ist­ing A417, re­join­ing the ex­ist­ing road near the Cow­ley Round­about.

Op­tion 30 would in­clude two new junc­tions – one at Shab Hill and one on the ex­ist­ing A417 close to Bar­row Wake with a link road in be­tween.

There would be three lanes of car­riage­way go­ing up Crick­ley Hill and two lanes com­ing down.

It is not yet clear how the “up­dated de­sign” changes what had orig­i­nally been pro­posed.

Leader of Glouces­ter­shire County Coun­cil, Coun­cil­lor Mark Hawthorne (C: Glouces­ter, Quedge­ley), said: “This is great news, and ex­actly what Glouces­ter­shire has been call­ing for years. This is the only fix to stop the con­ges­tion, the pol­lu­tion and the ter­ri­ble toll of ac­ci­dents that the Miss­ing Link is re­spon­si­ble for.”

Cab­i­net mem­ber for the en­vi­ron­ment, Cllr Nigel Moor (C, Stow-on-the-wold), added: “As Glouces­ter­shire moves to­wards the tran­si­tion to elec­tric and other low-emis­sion ve­hi­cles, we can’t lose sight of the im­por­tance of trans­port schemes like the A417 Miss­ing Link, which will cut con­ges­tion, and help pro­vide the vi­brant econ­omy Glouces­ter­shire needs to be able to suc­cess­fully reach zero car­bon emissions. This is very wel­come news.”

Group leader for the Lib­eral Democrats on Glouces­ter­shire County Coun­cil, Cllr Paul Hodgkin­son (LD: Cotswold, Bour­ton-on-the-wa­ter and North­leach), said: “Over the years, the Miss­ing Link at Birdlip has be­come no­to­ri­ous for con­ges­tion, pol­lu­tion and tragic ac­ci­dents. Glouces­ter­shire Lib Dems have been cam­paign­ing to get this road sorted for decades, so I am de­lighted to see progress by High­ways Eng­land.

“I look for­ward to chal­leng­ing High­ways Eng­land to com­mit to environmen­tal reme­dies so this so­lu­tion re­mains in line with the county’s cli­mate com­mit­ments, and I would en­cour­age every­one to have their say when the con­sul­ta­tion starts.”

In a post on his of­fi­cial Face­book page, Chel­tenham MP Alex Chalk said: “In­vest­ing in this road will save lives, boost the econ­omy and cur air pol­lu­tion. We need to get it done.”

Glouces­ter MP Richard Gra­ham tweeted that it was “wel­come news for all who use the M4-A417-M5”.

High­ways Eng­land will run a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the up­dated de­sign from to­mor­row un­til Novem­ber 8.

See the panel on the left for more de­tails.

The bot­tle­neck at the A417 Air Bal­loon round­about, above; the pro­posed new route would go through Shab Hill and re­join the ex­ist­ing A417 near the Cow­ley round­about, be­low

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