Gloucestershire MPs, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and Alex Chalk, have welcomed today’s announcement that Highways England, on behalf of the Government, have given approval to Phase 1 of the vital A417 “Missing Link” project. The 5km length of road, with a notorious accident blackspot at the Air Balloon roundabout, is the only stretch of single carriageway along the 50km strategic route between the M4 and M5.
The formal rubber stamping of the scheme by Highways England allows one of the most important stages of the process, namely the full scale options assessment to determine the final route, to go ahead.
Commenting on the news, the MP for the Cotswolds, Mr Clifton-Brown said:
“I’m delighted that approval has now been given by Highways England for the start of the A147 “Missing Link” process. This is the first step in the statutory process of delivering the Secretary of State for Transport’s commitment to have spades in the ground by 2020. Despite scaremongering from the county’s Liberal Democrats about delays to this project, Alex Chalk and I have applied continuous pressure both nationally and locally to ensure that the Government’s deadline commitments will be met. Regular travellers along the route both inside and outside Gloucestershire will warmly welcome this as the beginning of the solution to their twice daily disruption.”
Reiterating his support for the scheme, Cheltenham's man in Westminster, Alex Chalk, added:
“This announcement represents a major milestone in resolving the A417 bottleneck which has contributed to countless fatal accidents over the years and has continued to hold our local economy back. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and I have worked tirelessly to secure this solution and and we were delighted to receive a commitment from the Secretary of State that spades will be in the ground by 2020. Credit must also go to the County Council for their close collaboration with Highways England to ensure the scheme continues to progress and for identifying the £1 million of funding required for this phase of the project.”
Phase 1 of the project will be a 13-24 month period of option identification for the remainder of the work and is the required first step on the A417 project plan.