The county’s economic growth joint committee has added its voice in calling for Highway England’s option 30 to fix the missing link.
On Wednesday 14th March the county council committee gave its backing to option 30. It’s members join a growing number in support, including the Environment and Communities Scrituny Commitee which also voted to endorse option 30 at its meeting earlier this month on 7th March.
The missing link is a 5km stretch of single carriageway on the A417 trunk road, with the remaining route between the M4 at Swindon and M5 at Gloucester being dual carriageway.
Used by more than 34,000 vehicles a day, the route is a key link between the West Midlands and London. It is known for having long journey delays.
Finding a solution is a priority for the county council, with nearly 7,000 people and businesses pledging their support for an improvement scheme, which is being delivered by Highways England.
Over the last 18 months, Highways England has been looking at a number of different routes to solve the problem and it has now recommended that route option 30 is the preferred way forward.
Highways England states that option 30 will improve safety, support the economy, ease congestion and pollution, make the route more convenient for its regular users and improve the wellbeing of those who live near it. It is also believed to offer better value for money for taxpayers’ investment.
Specifically, option 30 would be a 3.4 mile route following the line 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, re-joining the existing road near Cowley roundabout.
It 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.
Highways England is currently asking road users and residents for their opinions with a consultation that is open until Thursday 29th March.
Cllr Lynden Stowe, chairman of the committtee and cabinet member for economic development said: “As lead cabinet member I support route option 30 as we continue to push for a solution to the A417 missing link. I urge people to have their say and add their opinions to the Highways England consultation by 29thMarch.”
By autumn this year Highways England is expecting to announce its preferred route and make some refined plans available.
In early 2019 a consultation will gather further views before a planning application goes in towards the end of 2019.
If planning permission is granted construction could start in mid 2021.
Visit https://highwaysengland.citizenspace.com/he/a417-missing-link/ for more information and to take part in the Highways England consultation.