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Highways England reveals plans for ‘Missing Links’ scheme

Road construction / Shutterstock_661631752

Highways England has unveiled plans for a multi-million pound scheme to upgrade a key route linking the Midlands and South West.

The improvement planned for the A417 near Gloucester will upgrade the last stretch of single carriageway of the road linking the M5 with the M4, commonly known as the ‘Missing Link’, to dual carriageway.

The plans for the Missing Link route scheme were made possible by the government’s £15 billion road investment programme.

A new climbing lane at Crickley Hill will be developed for slow moving traffic. Additionally, a new section of road built through Shab Hill to the east of the existing A417 will re-join the road near the current location of Cowley roundabout and a new junction will be created at Shab Hill with links to Birdlip and the A436. The Air Balloon Roundabout and Cowley Roundabout will be removed as part of the scheme.

Highways England says that the scheme will improve journey times and safety for drivers, while communities would experience reduced air pollution from queuing traffic.

Walkers will benefit from safer access to public footpaths including the Cotswold Way National Trail and the Gloucestershire Way.

Michael Goddard, senior project manager at Highways England, said: “This scheme will improve the lives of people who live close to the route and make it easier for drivers, walkers and other local road users to get around.

“Improving this key road connection complements the landscape in this area, and also supports the predicted growth in jobs and housing in Gloucestershire.”

Highways England will devise a detailed design for public input later this year before submitting a planning application known as a Development Consent Order.

The project will be subject to funding from the second Road Investment Strategy, which covers the period between 2020 and 2025.

Further details about the A417 Missing Link scheme can be viewed on the Highways England website.

Image credit | Shutterstock