The Highways Agency has explored numerous options to deal with the problems ranging from £1billion tunnels to low cost temporary measure to re-route traffic. Ultimately, the HA has concluded that the only workable option is the A417 Loop scheme, which was developed and agreed by statutory environmental bodies as the best option, in 2003. In the event that the Government progresses the scheme the statutory environmental bodies will be consulted again on the options as part of the formal planning process attached to road schemes of this size.
Work to introduce the A417 Loop scheme would cost in the region of £255 million and a lack of funding has prevented the work taking place to date.
What we want is for the government to get behind Gloucestershire and add the A417 loop scheme to the HA’s major scheme development programme for delivery as a matter of urgency.
The A417 loop is a short bypass of Nettleton Bottom, widening of Birdlip Bypass, a new junction at Birdlip, a new junction replacing the Air Balloon roundabout and construction of an additional two lane carriageway down Crickley Hill adjacent to the existing road.
Remodelled accesses to properties at Cold Slad and along Crickley Hill would be provided and a local road created, linking Birdlip, Cold Slad, the Leckhampton road and the A436.
Reduce the likelihood of collisions
Of all of the options investigated by the Highways Agency, this scheme produced the biggest reduction in accidents, bringing the biggest benefit.
Reduce the likelihood of congestion
There would be a long term improvement in traffic flow and reduced congestion along the route. In turn this would reduce the level of rat running through local villages and rural areas.
Provide high value for money
Journey time and accidents are reduced providing a total benefit cost of some four times the cost of constructing the scheme. This provides a Benefit to Cost Ratio (BCR) of over 4:1. This is a high BCR and is considerably higher than that achieved by other solutions considered for the route.
Provide wider economic benefits
Wider economic benefits will include reducing business costs, providing journey time reliability for deliveries and commuters, widening markets for goods/labour and creating construction jobs.
Provide network resilience
The A417/A419 provides a key route between the M4 and M5 linking the Midlands with Swindon and London. It also plays an important role in providing an alternative route to M4 / M5 in the event of congestion/incidents on this route.
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