The A417/A419 provides an important route between Gloucester, Cheltenham and Swindon that helps connect the West Midlands and the north to the south of England via the M5 and M4 motorways. While most of the route is dual carriageway, there’s one section that isn’t.
Known as the Missing Link, this three-mile stretch of single carriageway between the Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout severely restricts the flow of traffic.
Traffic congestion can be frequent and unpredictable, driving motorists, including HGVs, to divert onto smaller local roads to avoid long delays. This causes difficulties for neighbouring communities, whose local roads were not built to accommodate such a high level of traffic.
The sensitive nature of the Cotswold escarpment, the shape of the landscape and the area being part of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty means that there isn’t an easy answer for improving this section of road.
Over the years, there have been numerous attempts to find a solution, but for various reasons, including affordability and changes in investment priorities, these have never become a reality.
However, in recent years, the case for improvement has become far more compelling – to improve safety, support the economy, ease congestion and reduce pollution. This was recognised in the government’s first Road Investment Strategy 2015 – 2020 with funding being made available to investigate possible route options. Delivery of the project will be subject to confirmation of funding within the second road investment strategy, which will cover the period between 2020 – 2025 and is due to be published towards the end of 2019.
Highways England: “We believe that Option 30 presents the best opportunity to deliver a landscape-led highways improvement scheme which meets all of our key objectives and delivers a return on investment.”
Goals of Option 30:
- Improve safety compared with the existing route and contribute to our target of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured on our network
- Make journey times more predictable, reducing the cost and inconvenience of unexpected delays on businesses and other people who use the road and enabling goods and services to be moved around more easily
- Reduce rat-running through neighbouring communities, improving the lives of people who live close to the route and making it easier for drivers, walkers and other local road users to get around
- Improve landscape and ecological connectivity through landscape and habitat restoration and provision of a green bridge
- Improve air quality and reduce pollution caused by idling vehicles
- Improve access to public footpaths, including the Cotswold Way National Trail and the Gloucestershire Way, helping more people to enjoy the routes safely
- Support the predicted growth in jobs and housing in the Gloucestershire area by improving this key road connection
More information can be found on the Highways England website.