For more than 20 years, Gloucestershire and surrounding counties have been looking for a solution to the ‘Missing Link’ on the A417. The 5km stretch of road, near Nettleton Bottom, is the only single carriageway along the strategic 50km route between the M4 and M5.
The route is a key link between the West Midlands and London and is used daily by more than 34,000 vehicles.
The ‘Missing Link’ is often very heavily congested and there are frequent accidents, affecting people across Gloucestershire and further afield.
The county council has campaigned and lobbied for a solution to the ‘Missing Link’ over many years. As part of the Government’s transparent route selection process Highways England will be expected to review all options which have the potential to meet the scheme’s objectives. The shortlisted options will be presented at a public consultation which will inform the decision of the preferred route.
Gloucestershire is firmly behind the A417 ‘Missing Link’ scheme and although our campaigning has paid off we will continue to push for work to start in 2020, as promised by the Secretary of State.
I hope you will join me in supporting this scheme.
Leader, Gloucestershire County Council
The ‘Missing Link’ has been a problem for Gloucestershire for more than 20 years.
Aside from the fact that it’s the only single carriageway section between the M4 and M5, the missing link has many other issues.
It is the worst congestion hotspot in the county and daily delays have a major impact on commuters and local businesses. There are frequent accidents – the road has seen more than 340 casualties in the past 15 years, some of them fatalities.
Highways England has started to develop proposals for the scheme with the intention that it will be ready to start construction as early as possible in the next Road Investment Strategy Period (2020 – 2025).
A number of economic studies have been carried out over the past four years to identify the problems caused by the A417 ‘Missing Link’ to local businesses and the effects on economic growth.
We firmly believe the A417 is a major issue and we are thrilled Highways England has started to investigate a solution. Pledge your support and get updates on scheme progress.
People across Gloucestershire are being urged to support a campaign to secure funding to sort out the A417 ‘missing link’.
The government will set out its future road schemes at the end of March and Gloucestershire County Council is spearheading a campaign to see the missing link solution – the A417 loop – added to the list.
Gloucestershire County Council has worked with local authority partners and national organisations to agree the proposed A417 Missing Link scheme.
- Cheltenham Borough Council
- Forest of Dean District Council
- Cotswold District Council
- Tewkesbury Borough Council
- Stroud District Council
- Gloucester City Council
- GFirst LEP
Cheltenham Borough Council
Cllr Steve Jordan, leader of Cheltenham Borough Council: “As leader of Cheltenham Borough Council I have given my support to getting the Missing Link sorted out once and for all. This junction has been a problem for years as it was never dealt with when the rest of the road was upgraded. It is an accident black spot and it causes delays which both damage our economy and pollute our environment.
“In recent years, various solutions have been proposed, cheap options that would never have fixed the main problem and probably made things worse for Cheltenham, and incredibly expensive ones that would be unsustainable for our taxpayers. The A417 Missing Link is important for the whole of Gloucestershire and the wider area, but will not happen without central government support.”
Forest of Dean District Council
Cllr Tim Gwilliam, leader of Forest of Dean District Council: “The Forest of Dean District Council is in full support of the A417 Missing Link scheme to help ease traffic congestion, improve road safety and benefit the county’s economy.”
Cotswold District Council
Cllr Mark Annett, leader of Cotswold District Council: “The Missing Link on the A417/419 can cause huge problems for motorists and nearby communities in Cotswold district. There is a constant risk to the lives of those using this stretch of road – it is a notorious accident black spot and the spate of fatalities over the last few years have highlighted the problems encountered by users. The congestion also leads to frustratingly long delays, with very high levels of pollution blighting local villages.
“Cotswold District Council designated the Air Balloon roundabout site an Air Quality Management Area in 2008 to try to secure improvements, but we have not achieved the outcomes we would have wished to see. Also, from an economic standpoint, haulage companies incur substantially higher costs because of the extra time and fuel used up during delays. Motorists also have to contend with higher fuel costs and unnecessary disruptions to their daily lives. I must also highlight the negative impact on local businesses and residents who use the road every day.
“I believe that tackling the ‘missing link’ problem will benefit the whole country and not just North Gloucestershire. We have gone beyond the bounds of what is tolerable and action should be taken to fix this problem as soon as possible. The risks to life, health and safety in communities, and the wellbeing of the local – and national – economy should ensure that this project is a major priority.”
Tewkesbury Borough Council
Cllr David Waters, leader of Tewkesbury Borough Council: “Tewkesbury Borough Council is firmly behind the A417 Missing Link campaign. The loop solution would have an immediate beneficial effect, not just in Tewkesbury Borough and the rest of Gloucestershire but much further afield. This is a route that is absolutely crucial for the future development of our economy and, in Tewkesbury Borough specifically, the solution would strengthen the infrastructure to our existing businesses parks, something which would provide a real boost to our local economy.
Stroud District Council
Cllr Stephen Lydon, leader of Stroud District Council: “Nettleton Bottom and the Air Balloon roundabout are infamous when it comes to traffic problems. Barely a day goes by without this part of the A417 appearing on the traffic news on the radio, and during snowy winters this stretch of road grinds to a complete halt. I would encourage as many people as possible to support this project and make the most of an opportunity which may not present itself for another generation. Many of us often use this section of road, businesses depend on it and it’s an accident blackspot. It’s a key component of the county’s draft economic plan. We really need to fix this notorious bottleneck on one of the county’s primary routes.”
Gloucester City Council
Cllr Paul James, leader of Gloucester City Council: “As a growing and ambitious city it is important that we resolve the issue of the Missing Link to the M4 corridor and London, for us to fulfil our economic potential. Reports from the Centre for Cities have explained that a lot of our employment relies on businesses with headquarters in the capital. To ensure businesses continue to look at Gloucester and the wider county as a competitive and attractive location, we need to ensure the route to London is less prone to accidents and delays. We cannot allow the loss of life which has taken place on this road over the years to continue and the efforts by the county council and others to ensure the Missing Link is delivered have my full support.”
David Owen, Chief Executive of GFirst LEP: “Improving the transport infrastructure throughout the county is an important growth priority for GFirst LEP, particularly the Missing Link on the A417 as outlined in our draft Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).
“The Missing Link is of crucial importance to the economy of Gloucestershire and a number of neighbouring areas, as it provides connectivity to local, national and international markets and is a major strategic route from the Midlands to London, Thames Valley, key airports and the south coast ports. It is also a major tourist route gateway to the Cotswolds, Cheltenham and Gloucester, and the Forest of Dean that already attracts around 2 million tourists spending over £1 billion every year.
“As a strategic trunk road route linking the M5 at Junction 11a and the M4 at Swindon, the single carriage way of the A417 repeatedly suffers from severe congestion, high accident rates and long delays. The missing link is regarded by businesses as hampering economic growth across the region.”