A417 Missing Link

A landscape-led highways scheme that will deliver a safe and resilient free-flowing road while conserving and enhancing the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Our scheme will improve the connection between two dual carriageway sections of the A417 at Brockworth and Cowley.

Start date Early 2023
End date 2027
Cost £250 to £500 million

Latest updates

  • 04 July 2024

    Upcoming closures

    The A417 will be closed between the A46 Brockworth junction and Air Balloon Roundabout between:

    • 9pm Saturday 13 July and 6am Sunday 14 July
    • 9pm Sunday 14 July and 6am Monday 15 July - this closure has been cancelled

    Access for residents and emergency vehicles will be in place.

    A diversion will be in place for northbound traffic via the A436, A435, A40 and A46. For southbound traffic, please follow in reverse.

    Cowley Roundabout contraflow

    To allow us to carry out the next stage of work, we've made changes in the layout of the road around the A417 Cowley Roundabout in Nettleton Bottom.

    A contraflow is in place so we can start to prepare to build Cowley junction, where the new section of the A417 will tie into the existing carriageway.   

    Traffic has been reduced to a single lane in both directions, and there's a temporary mandatory speed limit of 40mph. Cowley Roundabout is no longer in use and traffic travelling south can not exit towards Brimpsfield here. 

    We know you might have some questions, you can view our contraflow Q&A here.

    Cowley Roundabout contraflow

    Cowley Roundabout contraflow

    Click on images to enlarge

    Stockwell Lane closure

    On Monday 1 July, we closed Stockwell Lane for approximately 18 months. This is to prepare for construction of the new road and bridge building at this location.

    Other work happening in the area

    Alongside the A417 Missing Link improvements, we’re also continuing with our usual maintenance and repairs of the road. More information, along with other work closures on our network, can be found on our daily closures page.

    Newsletter

    The June edition of our newsletter is now out where you'll be able to read about the latest on the scheme as well as view the latest images. Click here to read it now.

    As always, we'd love to hear your feedback on the newsletter for future editions.

  • 30 April 2024

    An update on our programme of work in to May

    The project reached a new milestone in April as we began the offline build. The recent overnight closures meant that we were able to safely carry out earthworks at several locations, lay new surfacing and paint road markings.

    Planned April closure cancelled

    Our closures planned for 27 and 28 April on Leckhampton Hill did not go ahead due to nesting birds being present. We've been performing nesting bird surveys on all vegetation that is being removed. Any vegetation or trees that are identified with nesting birds are protected and will not be cleared until the offspring have left the nest. We expect this work will now be carried out in late summer 2024 and we're sorry for any disruption.

    Oxford Cotswold Archaeology Event

    This May we’re holding an event, with support from Oxford Cotswold Archaeology, on all things archaeology on the A417.

    Come and meet the team working on the A417 Missing Link project and take a deep dive into the world of archaeology, to see how the past influences and connects us today.

    Come and join us on Saturday 11 May between 10am and 3pm at the Gloucester Guildhall, 23 Eastgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 1NS

    Public Information Events

    Our public information events in March and April were a success, with nearly 250 people coming along to speak with the team. Our next round of public events will be held in October this year.

    Keep up to date

    Get all the latest updates on our recently launched interactive online portal. The portal is dedicated to the A417 Missing Link project and has all the latest news and closures, as well as what we’re doing out in the community and the ways you can get in touch with the team.

    You can access the portal here: https://a417missinglink.com/

    Our latest scheme newsletter has also been published where you'll be able to view the very latest images from across the project. Click here to read it now.

  • 23 April 2024

    Upcoming weekend closure cancelled

    We've cancelled our planned closure of part of Leckhampton Hill between the Air Balloon roundabout and Ullenwood Manor Road.

    We apologise for any inconvenience and we'll provide further updates in due course.

    If you have any questions, or if you would like to know more about our work, please contact us:

    • by telephone on: 0300 123 5000 (available 24 hours a day)
    • by email at: a417missinglinkatairballoon@nationalhighways.co.uk

  • 25 March 2024

    An update on our programme of work this spring

    This month we’re starting offline construction away from the existing A417 carriageway, excavating the ground to prepare for the start of putting in the foundations for new bridges.

    Two full weeks of overnight closures, from Monday 8 April

    We’ll be closing the A417 overnight from the Air Balloon roundabout to the A46 Brockworth junction, starting from Monday 8 April for two full weeks. Closures will be weeknights and weekends and will allow us to carry out earth removal at several locations, lay new surfacing and paint road markings.

    Closures will be in place between 9pm and 6am from:

    • Monday 8 April until Monday 22 April, including weekends

    A diversion route will be in place via the A46, A40, A435 to A436, and has been agreed with Gloucestershire County Council.

    National Star College and Crickley Hill Country Park will be open for business as usual.

    The red line on the map below highlights the closure location, with the diversion route shown in blue.

    New online portal now live!

    We recently launched a new interactive online portal as an extension to our National Highways page. The portal is dedicated to the A417 Missing Link project and has all the latest news, including what we’re doing out in the community and the ways you can get in touch with the team.

    You can access the portal here: https://a417missinglink.com/

    Keeping you informed

    Come and meet the team at our next information event. This month we’ve held a series of public information events, where you were able to find out more about the project and ask any questions that you had. We have another event being held in April that you can attend, Come and join us: 

    • Wednesday 3 April between 2pm and 6.30pm - our engagement van will be parked at National Star College - National Star College, Ullenwood Manor Rd, Ullenwood, Cheltenham GL53 9QU 

    Out and about in the community

    This month we’ve been out and about in the community including visiting Gloucestershire College Apprenticeship Open Day to inform prospective students about available apprenticeship options.

    To celebrate Easter, we’ve been able to visit a series of organisations and charities and donate over 300 chocolate Easter eggs. We were able to donate to the Gloucester Hospital Children’s ward, The James Hopkins Trust, Women and Children Refuge in Gloucester and the Sandfields Care Home.

    We also celebrated Open Doors Week by welcoming 40 visitors to the A417 site who were able to take a "behind the scenes" look at the scheme.

    Newsletter

    The March edition of our newsletter is now out where you'll be able to read about the latest on the scheme as well as view the latest images. Click here to read it now.

    As always, we'd love to hear your feedback on the newsletter for future editions.

  • 28 February 2024

    The A417 Missing Link Project has reached its next major milestone.

    We’re just about to start the next stage of major construction which will see earthworks start to excavate a new section of road from the Air Balloon roundabout. We’re doing this away from the existing route to minimise disruption as much as possible. You may have already seen the team carrying out earthworks which was for our new compound and car park area.

    We’ll be storing and then repurposing all the materials removed from the landscape throughout the build, helping to minimise the scheme’s carbon footprint and the impact on the environment.

    Upcoming closures

    Stockwell Lane full daytime closures (26 February – 1 March)

    We'll be completing work to clear trees and vegetation at Stockwell Lane. This is in preparation for the start of the offline section of the A417 works. To allow this work to be carried out safely, we’ll be putting a full closure in place along Stockwell Lane between Monday 26 February and Friday 1 March, between 9am and 4pm.

    The red line on the map below highlights the closure location, with the diversion route shown in blue. For residents of Cowley Village, please use the Cowley roundabout to exit onto the A417.

    Stockwell Lane diversion

    A436 full overnight closures (28 February – 2 March)

    Overnight closures of the A436 between the Air Balloon roundabout and National Star College will be in place from Wednesday 28 February and Saturday 2 March, between 9pm and 6am each night. A diversion route will be in place via the A417, A46, A40, A435 and has been agreed with Gloucestershire County Council.

    The red line on the map below highlights the closure location, with the diversion route shown in blue. Customers and staff of The Golden Heart and Highwayman Inn will be escorted when the closure is in place.

    A436 diversion

    Burford Road full overnight closures (4 March – 9 March)

    We’ll be working during the night between Burford Road (A429 at Cirencester) on the northbound carriageway to the Air Balloon roundabout, and from the Air Balloon roundabout heading southbound to the Highwayman Inn on the A419 towards Swindon. The full closure will be in place from Monday 4 March until Saturday 9 March, between 9pm and 6am each night. The works involve tree and vegetation clearance in preparation for the start of the main works as well as carrying out ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys. A diversion route will be in place via the A436, A40, A429 and has been agreed with Gloucestershire County Council.

    The red line on the map below highlights the closure location, with the diversion route shown in blue.

    A429 diversion

    A417 full overnight closures (11 March - 15 March)

    We'll be carrying out work on the A417 between the Air Balloon roundabout and the A46 Brockworth junction for 5 nights to pull cables through previously installed ducts and undertake survey works.

    Closures will be in place from Monday 11 March until Friday 15 March, between 9pm and 6am each night, to keep disruption to a minimum. A diversion route will be in place via the A46, A40, A435 to A436, and has been agreed with Gloucestershire County Council.

    The red line on the map below highlights the closure location, with the diversion route shown in blue.

    A417 Diversion map


    Community events - come and meet the team in March and April

    We’re holding a series of public information events, where you can come along to find out more about the project and ask any questions that you may have. Come and join us:

    • Tuesday 19 March, 2pm to 6.30pm - Girlguiding Gloucestershire HQ, Deer Park, Cowley, GL53 9NJ
    • Wednesday 20 March, 2pm to 6.30pm - our engagement van will be parked at The Royal George Hotel, Birdlip, GL4 8JH
    • Monday 25 March, 2pm to 6.30pm - Shurdington Community Centre, Bishop Road, Shurdington, Cheltenham, GL51 4TB
    • Wednesday 27 March, 2pm to 6.30pm - Brockworth Community Centre, Court Road, Brockworth, Gloucester, GL3 4ET
    • Wednesday 3 April, 2pm to 6.30pm - our engagement van will be parked at National Star College - National Star College, Ullenwood Manor Road, Ullenwood, Cheltenham, GL53 9QU

    Open Doors Week

    On Tuesday 19 March, we’ll be opening our doors to give visitors the chance to peek behind the scenes of the A417 Missing Link scheme. Visits are scheduled for 10am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm and are for a maximum group of 10 people.

    To sign up, visit: opendoors.construction

    Newsletter

    The February edition of our newsletter is now out. Inside you’ll be able to read the very latest about the scheme, including updates on our archaeological work, and how we're helping to improve biodiversity. Click here to read it now.

    If you have any feedback on the newsletter, we'd love to hear from you!

  • 31 January 2024

    A look ahead to 2024

    This January, we’ve been continuing with our preliminary works. As well as building a new site entrance close to the Air Balloon roundabout, we’ve been busy widening a section of carriageway on the A417 so that we can keep traffic moving more smoothly during the next phase of construction.

    In April, we'll be ready to start building the new section of the A417. This section is to the south and east of the Air Balloon roundabout and is referred to as ‘offline’ as it is away from the existing road network.

    Upcoming roadworks

    We’re now in our last week of overnight closures on the A417 between the Air Balloon roundabout and the A46 Brockworth junction. Weather permitting, our last closure is planned for Friday night. Should this change, we’ll share an update on our webpage at the earliest opportunity.

    Full overnight closures will take place in both directions between the hours of 9pm and 6am on the following dates:

    • Wednesday 31 January
    • Thursday 1 February
    • Friday 2 February

    An approved diversion route will be in place via the A46, A40, A435 and A436 and has been agreed with Gloucestershire County Council.

    Connecting Parishes

    Improving connectivity doesn’t just apply to the road! Connecting Parishes is a project that National Highways is working on, together with Gloucestershire County Council and the Gloucestershire Local Access Forum, to improve connectivity and accessibility of the Public Rights of Way (PRoW) near the A417.

    How is the project being funded?

    This project has received Designated Funding from National Highways’ ‘Users and Communities’ fund, which aligns with the ‘Walkers, Cyclists and Horse Riders and Communities’ themes. The purpose of these funding streams is to build new infrastructure and enhance existing facilities to encourage sustainable, non-motorised forms of transport.

    What is Connecting Parishes?

    The Connecting Parishes project seeks to reconnect PRoW between neighbouring parishes and the Cotswolds Way, which were previously severed by the Strategic Road Network.

    There will be a core focus on improving active travel, ensuring there are more accessible and safer active travel options which will enhance local connectivity for communities and allow more people to enjoy the Cotswolds National Landscape (formerly known as the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).

    Working with Gloucestershire County Council, who are leading on delivering these projects, Connecting Parishes consists of 18 different sections of Public Rights of Way which will link into the Air Balloon Way, the Cotswold Way or other promoted routes.

    You may have noticed some work has already started. If these works have impacted you, we’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding while we deliver this important project, which will offer many benefits to local people and visitors. We’ll share more updates with you and photos as the project progresses.

    Useful links

    Click here for January's edition of our monthly newsletter

    We hope you enjoy reading our monthly newsletter. Now, we’d like your help to make it even better. We want to know which stories you like the best and whether we’re sharing the news you really want to read about. Take a moment to share your feedback using the link below. 

     A417 Missing Link Feedback Survey 

  • 08 January 2024

    New Year update

    Digging for Britain feature

    We’ve started off 2024 with some exciting news as the A417 Missing Link project is featured in the new series of Digging for Britain. The eleventh series of the popular TV programme went live on BBC iPlayer on the 2 January and the episode that features the project aired live on the 4 January.

    The project features in episode 3 at around 48 minutes in. We hope you enjoy watching it and find it as fascinating as us! This is just a small part of the important preparatory work we’ve been busy doing. You can watch the episode here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001ttqx

    You can also read more about the finds in our press release here: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/article/gloucestershire-s-history-uncovered-during-national-highways-improvements-to-be-shown-on-bbc-documentary/

    January closures reminder

    We’d like to remind you of the upcoming closures this month as we progress into the next phase of construction. We’ll continue our work on the A417 between the Air Balloon roundabout and the A46 Brockworth junction. 

    Full overnight closures will take place in both directions on weeknights only, between the hours of 9pm each night and 6am the following day (the road will reopen Saturday morning) on these dates:

    Monday 8 January to Friday 12 January

    Monday 15 January to Friday 19 January   

    Monday 22 January to Friday 26 January   

    Monday 29 January to Friday 2 February   

    Full weekend closure reminder

    On Friday 19 January, the A417 Missing Link will create a new site entrance near the Air Balloon roundabout, which requires us to close a small section of the A436 and the top of Leckhampton Hill over the weekend, between 9pm on Friday 19 January and 6am on Monday 22 January. 

    A diversion route will be in place via the A46, A40, A435, A436 and has been agreed with Gloucestershire County Council.   

    The A417 will remain open in both directions but the A436 will not be accessible from the Air Balloon roundabout during this time. Crickley Hill Country Park and National Star College will be open for business as usual.

    Full details of all these closures including diversion route maps are in our December newsletter, which you can find by scrolling down this webpage. It's under the 'Documents' section and click on the first 'Newsletters' tab.

  • 21 December 2023

    December 2023

    A look back on 2023 

    As we approach 2024, we’d like to thank everyone for their continued support and interest in the scheme. We look forward to sharing further updates with you as we move into the next stage of construction. From the whole of the A417 team, we’d like to wish you a happy and safe festive season and best wishes for the new year.  

     

    Upcoming closures in the new year 

    As we progress to the next phase of construction there will be some closures in January. We’ll continue our work on the A417 between the Air Balloon roundabout and A46 Brockworth junction. Full overnight closures will take place in both directions on weeknights only, between 9pm and 6am on: 

    Monday 8 – Friday 12 January 

    Monday 15 – Friday 19 January   

    Monday 22 – Friday 26 January   

    Monday 29 January – Friday 2 February   

     

    Weekend closure confirmed for January  

    On Friday 19 January, the A417 Missing Link will create a new site entrance near the Air Balloon roundabout, which requires us to close a small section of the A436 and the top of Leckhampton Hill between 9pm on Friday 19 January and 6am Monday 22 January. 

    A diversion route will be in place via the A46, A40, A435, A436 and has been agreed with Gloucestershire County Council.   

    The A417 will remain open in both directions but the A436 will not be accessible from the Air Balloon roundabout during this time. Crickley Hill Country Park and National Star College will be open for business as usual. 

     

    The Air Balloon pub 

    As you may have seen, demolition of the Air Balloon pub has now been completed. This was a necessary step to make way for the new A417 Missing Link road, which we will start to build early in the new year. 

    We understand how many of you value the history of the pub and, recognising that it was named after one of the first British balloon flights, we’re proposing to call a section of the repurposed A417, the Air Balloon Way. 

    We’re also planning to reuse as much of the building materials as possible and are exploring the possibility of using some of it to create installations and outdoor furniture for the local area that celebrate its cherished history. We already have a local carpenter lined up to make some benches that will eventually be located on the new and improved walking, cycling and horse riding network for all to enjoy. 

    We’ve started to clear vegetation in preparation for the next phase of construction. All vegetation clearance is being done sensitively, under the watchful eye of an independent arboricultural clerk of works. Site-wide inspections of trees and vegetation, ecological surveys and mitigation to protect trees and local bat populations were done prior to this work commencing. Wherever possible we will be replacing lost vegetation and trees, which will over time help screen the new road and create new habitats and habitat connections for native wildlife to flourish. 

     

    If you have any questions or would like to find out more, we’ll be planning a series of public information events in spring 2024, so please do come along and speak with a member of the project team. 

     

    Useful links 

    A417 Missing Link update - December 2023 (office.com) 

  • 01 December 2023

    Seal of approval paves way for main construction

    We’ve been working hard behind the scenes with local authorities and statutory bodies to ensure that planning conditions (requirements), as set out in our Development Consent Order, are met and signed-off (discharged) by the Secretary of State for Transport ahead of main construction. 

    A key milestone for the project, this task has now been completed and means we can start the main build in early 2024.  

    As we move towards this next phase you will start to see vegetation clearance along the route, which is being carried out under the watchful eye of a specialist clerk of works. 

     

    Secretary of State speaks about the scheme 

    In this short video, Rt Hon Mark Harper MP talks about the A417 Missing Link project during his recent visit to site. The Secretary of State is joined by Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, CEO National Highways Nick Harris, Project Director Kevin Jones and Environmental Laad Kris Atkins.

     

    What’s happening next?  

    Take a moment to watch this new animation video which explains how we are phasing construction of the A417 Missing Link. 

     

    Find out more: 

    We've issued the latest A417 Missing Link newsletter for November, which you can view here or scroll down, where you’ll find all of them in one place.  

    View the latest project timeline in the resource pack by scrolling down this page.

     

    Success as project secures prestigious NIPA award 

    We’re delighted to share that the A417 Missing Link project has been named winner of the National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA) Infrastructure Award 2023. The award recognises best practice for planning, design, development and delivery of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. Commendations were given for “genuinely listening to stakeholders and changing design accordingly”. 

    The success of this project, through preliminary design, planning and Development Consent, has only been possible thanks to our stakeholders and the collaborative relationships we have with you.  

    Our shared goal has been to deliver much needed improvements to tackle the long-standing congestion and safety issues on this road, whilst conserving and enhancing the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  

    A huge thank you goes to the local MPs, Cotswolds National Landscape, National Trust, Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, our colleagues at Gloucestershire County Council, Cotswold District Council, Tewkesbury Borough Council, landowners and local communities. Every one of our stakeholders and partners has been key to shaping the scheme and its landscape-led vision. 

    We will continue to engage, keep you informed and ask for your support as we move through the construction phase. 

  • 31 October 2023

    The Secretary of State for Transport visits the A417 

    We recently welcomed the Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper MP onto site for a guided tour and to see the progress we’ve made so far.  

    He heard first-hand how the project will benefit local people and businesses and talked to archaeologists and ecologists, who have been on site for the past eight months, investigating and documenting the history of the area and putting in measures to protect local wildlife and habitats.   

    Photo: National Highways Chief Executive Nick Harris, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, Richard Graham MP, Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper MP, Siobhan Baillie MP, Alex Chalk MP, Laurence Robertson MP, Kier CEO Andrew Davies

    The Secretary of State’s visit comes as the project enters the next phase of construction. Having progressed preliminary construction works, including archaeology and biodiversity enhancements, the scheme will now look to the next stage of enabling works, which includes the widening of the A417 at Crickley Hill. 

    Read this and other stories about the A417 Missing Link scheme in our October newsletter: https://sway.office.com/7RX3FRveqFpZox0a?ref=Link 

    Upcoming closures and roadworks this autumn  

    If you’ll be using the A417 this autumn, please plan ahead as upcoming road closures and roadworks may affect your journey. 

    We’re currently widening the A417 at Crickley Hill. To conduct these works the A417 is being closed overnight (between 8pm and 6am) in both directions between:

    Monday 30 October – Thursday 2 November

    Monday 6 – Friday 10 November

    Monday 13 – Friday 17 November

    Monday 20 – Friday 24 November

    Monday 27 – Wednesday 29 November

    Friday 1 December

    Please note we have added an extra overnight closure on Friday 10 November.

    You can also read our information leaflet: A417 Crickley Hill widening information leaflet. 

    Due to the recent adverse weather and localised flooding in the area, the site access work and associated weekend road closure of the A436 between 10 – 13 November has been postponed until the new year. We will be in touch as soon as a new date is confirmed, and we will give plenty of notice so people can plan their journeys ahead. 

    In the meantime, we need to undertake some survey work at this location and will have some traffic lights in operation between 9pm and 6am, Monday 6 November to Thursday 9 November. This work will be done overnight to minimise disruption. Please follow the signage as there will be one way traffic during these works.

  • 29 September 2023

    Upcoming closures this autumn

    If you’ll be using the A417 or A436 this autumn, please plan ahead as these upcoming road closures may affect your journey.

    We're about to start some vital enabling work, which must be done before we can start to build the new road. These works will require some road closures in October and November. 

    Overnight closures on the A417 

    For around seven weeks from October 16, we’ll be widening a small section of the A417 at Crickley Hill. This is so we can keep traffic moving during phase two of the project in 2025. The A417 will be closed at this location overnight (8pm–6am) in both directions on the following dates:  

    • Monday 16 – Friday 20 October 
    • Monday 23 – Friday 27 October 
    • Monday 30 October – Thursday 2 November 
    • Monday 6 – Thursday 9 November 
    • Monday 13 – Friday 17 November 
    • Monday 20 – Friday 24 November 
    • Monday 27 – Wednesday 29 November 
    • Friday 1 December 

    For diversion route map, see below.  

    Full weekend closure in November  

    In November we’ll need to close a small section of the A436 and the top of Leckhampton Hill to build a new site entrance. This is near the existing Air Balloon roundabout. The closure will be in place between 9pm Friday 10 November and 5am Monday 13 November.  

    For diversion route map, see below. Please note that Crickley Hill Country Park and National Star College will be open for business as usual.

    Diversion routes 

    The closures have been carefully timed to minimise disruption to motorists. Clearly sign-posted diversions will be in place and access will be maintained at all times for residents and emergency services. 

    Crickley Hill widening works diversion route:

    A436 site access works diversion route:

    Links to more information:  

    A417 Missing Link newsletter – September update 

    A417 Crickley Hill widening information leaflet

    A436 site entrance information leaflet

     

    Public information events

    If you'd like more information, come and speak to a member of our team at one of these public information events:  

    Wednesday 4 October, 2pm-7.30pm – The Girl Guides Hall, Deer Park, Cowley, GL53 9NJ 

    Monday 9 October, 2pm-7.30pm – our engagement van will be parked at National Star College, Ullenwood Manor Road, Ullenwood, Cheltenham, GL53 9QU 

    Wednesday 11 October, 2pm-7.30pm – our engagement van will be parked at The Royal George Hotel, Birdlip, GL4 8JH 

    Monday 16 October, 9am-4.30pm – our engagement van will be parked outside of M&S Cheltenham, 173 High St, Cheltenham, GL50 1DF

  • 20 September 2023

    To the bat cave! National Highways helps support UK bat species along the A417 Missing Link

    Converting a World War II bunker for wildlife is just one of the innovative measures National Highways is taking to help support UK species of bats that have made their home in Gloucestershire.  

    The converted structure will be home to the Lesser Horseshoe, Brown Long Eared and other species of bats.  

    National Highways is also installing bat boxes in suitable habitat across the scheme, which although not obvious to passing motorists, provide vital homes for the bats.  

    In addition, ecologists will utilise a widely used and accepted tree aging technique for young trees and create roosts that mimics crevices only found on older more mature trees.  

    Three other bat structures will also be created as part of the scheme, and we will plant trees, hedges, woodland and grasslands to improve their foraging habitats. 

    To ensure local bat populations are properly supported during the build, we’ve got a team of Ecologists on site at all times to ensure these mitigation measures are implemented correctly. 

    Work on the scheme goes beyond bats though, with ecologists continuing to relocate reptiles away from construction areas including baby common lizards, slow worms, Roman snails and adders.

    Caption: The converted World War II bunker, which will eventually be covered by vegetation and hidden from sight, is one innovative way National Highways is helping to support bats and wildlife

  • 28 July 2023

    Festival of Archaeology 2023

    The Festival of Archaeology, run by the Council for British Archaeology in July, aims to get everyone thinking about and involved in archaeology. We want to do our bit, so we’re shining the spotlight on this interesting and rewarding job! 

    Have you ever considered being an archaeologist? Our colleague From Cotswold Oxford Archaeology William tells us more about what’s involved in our latest newsletter which has been published today

    “On the A417 project, a typical day for me starts with a safety briefing. We then get to work, excavating and cleaning (hopefully!) archaeological features. Anything I find is recorded. I take photographs, draw a picture, write detailed notes, and interpret what the finds could be. This information will be included in a report that will be published for all to see. 

    “I also collect soil samples, so that we can see what vegetation was growing there at the time, what crops were being farmed in the area and even what people were eating! 

    “The A417 missing link project has been very interesting so far. One of the best things about this job is not knowing what you might learn and discover one day to the next. It isn’t all about finding treasure - although some would be nice!”

    Photo: William Sibley

  • 30 June 2023

    New defibrillators to save lives along Missing Link

    We’ve installed a brand-new defibrillator at The Green Dragon Inn in Cowley, as part of an initiative to improve access to this life-saving equipment in local communities.  

    This is the first of four defibrillators that we’re installing in Gloucestershire in partnership with Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) and the Sam Polledri Foundation.  

    GWAAC medics were on hand at the unveiling, to teach the A417 project team and members of the public CPR and show us how to operate the new machine.  

    The defibrillators are being funded through National Highways’ social value fund, which is part of a wider commitment to give back to communities along our network. To find out more, visit: https://nationalhighways.co.uk/about-us/social-value-and-national-highways/   

    For more information about this and what the project team have been up to this month, read our latest newsletter

    Photo: L-R: Sam’s mum Louise, Emma Fawcett from GWAAC, Gavin Jones from Kier, and Mike Goddard and Will Barker from National Highways  

  • 02 June 2023

    Upgrading the A417 – A417 anecdotes

    As construction draws closer, we’ve been reflecting on why the A417 Missing Link project is so important and have been talking to people about what the scheme means to them.

    We're released a series of videos, the first of which focuses on the benefits of the project: to make everyone's journeys safer, smoother and more reliable, improve local people’s quality of life by reducing rat running and support economic growth in the region. 

    In this video we hear from Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown MP and the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne about the what the scheme will mean for local people: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AjwS-ykNTI

    Scroll down to view the ‘A417 Anecdotes’ section on this page to see more.

    For the latest project news, view our newly published newsletter

  • 16 May 2023

    Preparatory work well underway

    For those living locally or using the A417, you will have noticed lots of activity going on near the Air Balloon roundabout and Fly-up 417 Bike Park. You will have also noticed that we’ve set-up several small site offices, which include welfare facilities for the ecologists and archaeologists working on site.  

    All of this activity is part of the preparatory work we are doing ahead of construction in the autumn. 

    Our team of archaeologists are currently working at six locations in the area, and since the end of February, have removed approximately 8000 cubic metres of soil in their search for historical features and artefacts that can tell us more about the area and the people that once lived there. 

    We’ve also got ecologists on site who have been prepping archaeological research areas before work starts, for example putting up retile fencing to keep them away from work areas, checking for ground nesting birds and installing kite hawks to discourage skylarks from landing on site. These measures are ensuring local wildlife is protected.   

    To find out more about the preparatory work we are doing read our latest newsletter which was published on 22 April. 

    Birdlip and the surrounding area is rich in history: the existing A417 largely follows the former Roman road between Cirencester and Gloucester and Birdlip itself is a historical Roman settlement. Picture shows topsoil being stripped from archaeological research areas. 

  • 22 April 2023

    Environmental protection a top priority

    We’re really proud of all the work we’re doing to protect the local environment and archaeology ahead of construction in the autumn.  

    Today is Earth Day 2023 and as one of our top priorities, you can learn about our environmental commitments and see what ecological mitigation we’re doing ahead of construction in the autumn. We've produced some handouts to help explain the steps we're taking:

    Photo: Red tailed bumble bee

    Preparatory work is progressing well and to programme. Over the last month we’ve been investigating archaeology in three identified research areas and ecologists have been on site surveying birds and enhancing nearby reptile habitats.

    We’ve published April’s A417 Missing Link newsletter which gives you the latest project news and more information about what we’ve been doing out on site over the last month.

    Photo credit: Oxford Cotswold Archaeology

  • 20 March 2023

    Preparatory work starts ahead of construction in the autumn

    There’s lots of work that needs to be done before construction begins in the autumn.

    If you’re in the area, you will start to see some local public rights of ways being diverted and people out on site undertaking archaeological digs and installing environmental mitigation such as animal fencing and bat boxes to protect local wildlife.  Later in the year, you will also start seeing people setting up construction site offices and protecting nearby utilities so they are not impacted by the build.   

    To find out more about preparatory work and see a timeline of activity, read our latest newsletter. You can also view our archaeology and environmental mitigation information graphics which summarise this work here:

  • 27 February 2023

    Project update

    The Secretary of State for Transport gave the A417 Missing Link project the go-ahead on 16 November 2022. No challenges were made to this decision and since then, we’ve been working hard behind the scenes to make sure we are ready to start construction in autumn 2023. 

    We have been working closely with local authorities and other stakeholders to ensure that all the necessary Development Consent Order (DCO) Requirements are met before we start preparatory work and construction. DCO Requirements are things that we and our contractor Kier must do by law before, during and following construction. You can view all the DCO documents, including a full list of Requirements further down this webpage under the ‘Documents’ heading.

    We’re now gearing up to start preparatory work. Over the next couple of weeks, you will start to see people in high-visibility jackets out on site. Watch this space for lots more information about what preparatory work we will be doing and when.  

    We’re also planning to do some routine maintenance work on the A417 between Cowley and Air Balloon roundabout in early March, which will involve some overnight closures and diversions. To find out more visit https://nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/road-closure-report/ or get in touch with us at info@nationalhighways.co.uk or 0300 123 5000.  

    For all project related enquires, please contact us at A417MissingLink@nationalhighways.co.uk. 

  • 12 January 2023

    2022 - a year in review

    Early in 2022, The Planning Inspectorate closed it's 6 month examination of the A417 Missing Link proposals. While awaiting a final report and a decision on whether planning permission would be granted, we stayed busy!

    In June the project team, along with representatives from Cotswold Archaeology visited Birdlip Primary School and met year 3 and 4 pupils. They got the chance to chat to them about their jobs and see what finds have been dug up along the route, which used to be the home to Romans. One item was an almost 2,000-year-old figurine depicting Cupid, the Roman God of love, which was discovered along with a bow-shaped brooch, and a Roman or early Saxon skeleton. The Cupid was a rare find, with less than 50 known in the UK, and is one of only three that have been found as part of an archaeological dig as opposed to by metal detectorists.

    After a competitive procurement process, Kier was announced as the firm appointed to design and construct the new road. Kier is a national business with a local and regional focus - throughout the duration of the project, it will support the local community by providing local jobs and contracts, and through initiatives to improve the local area leave a positive legacy.

    The proposal for the new wildlife-friendly crossing - Gloucestershire Way

    Surveys were undertaken throughout the year to gather more information about ground conditions and local plants and wildlife. They'll help finalise the detailed design of the road, crossings, landscaping and new local features such as the Air Balloon Way: a proposed new walking, cycling and horse riding route on the old A417.

    In November, the project received the long-awaited great news that the scheme had been granted an approved Development Consent Order - meaning the project can finally start being built! Construction of the A417 Missing Link will start this year and be completed by early 2027. You can find out more by reading the latest newsletter here and by watching the latest fly through video of the scheme below.

  • 02 December 2022

    A417 public information events welcomed last month

    Despite the weather, over 680 people visited our public information events last month at Birdlip, National Star College, Brockworth and Cheltenham between 22-25 November 2022.

    Visitors welcomed the chance to find out more about the project and spent lots of time talking to the project team and asking questions.

    Caption: the A417 engagement van and project team outside M&S in Cheltenham

    It was clear from people’s comments that there remains widespread support for the scheme and local people are pleased that something is finally being done to improve safety and reduce congestion on the A417 Missing Link - a three-mile stretch of single carriageway between the Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout.

    There were calls for more information about construction so that everyone knows what to expect, and when.

    We reassured visitors that construction will be managed very carefully to minimise disruption and that any impacts will be short-term and temporary. Kier’s dedicated team will provide a lot more information about construction before it starts next year. They will also keep people updated throughout the build and be available to answer questions and address any issues that may arise.

    In the meantime, there’s lots of useful information, images, videos and maps in our Resource Pack, which can be found in the Documents section of this website.

    Caption: the A417 engagement van set up last month

  • 16 November 2022

    A417 Missing Link gets the go-ahead

    We’re delighted that Transport Minister Huw Merriman MP has today approved this landscape-led highways scheme that will deliver a safe and resilient free-flowing road while conserving and enhancing the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  

    Caption: An artist’s impression of the scheme shows plans for the Gloucestershire Way crossing

    We would like to thank everyone who has provided feedback and helped shape this vital scheme, which will improve the connection between two dual carriageway sections of the A417 at Brockworth and Cowley, and links between the M4 and M5, making it safer and reducing traffic congestion and the knock-on effect of rat running in local villages.

    The Minster’s long-awaited decision means we can now take action to improve this much needed stretch of road. Our Chief Executive, Nick Harris welcomes the news and explains what it means for local people: https://youtu.be/qs5cSLtrgVI

    To help you visualise the new road, see our latest fly-through animation: https://youtu.be/BzgMP-HABVQ

    We now enter a six-week judicial review period, but we will continue to work closely with our stakeholders and move this project forward during this time.

    We’ll start construction of the A417 Missing Link in 2023 and be completed by early 2027. To find out more, read our latest newsletter here

    You can view the official decision letter, granting the scheme approval, on the Planning Inspectorate's website here

    Come and see us 

    Between 22 – 25 November, the project team will be out and about in the local area in our mobile exhibition van. At these events you can meet our contractor Kier who is building the new road and talk to us in person about this project. Visit us at: 

    • Tuesday 22 November 2022, 11am – 4pm, The Royal George Hotel, Birdlip, GL4 8JH 
    • Wednesday 23 November 2022, 9am – 5pm, National Star College, Ullenwood Manor Road, Cheltenham, GL53 9QU 
    • Thursday 24 November 2022, 9am – 5pm, Brockworth Community Centre , Court Road, Brockworth, GL3 4ET 
    • Friday 25 November 2022, 8am - 2pm, Outside Cheltenham Marks & Spencer, 173 High Street, Cheltenham, GL50 1DF  

    There is plenty of parking at all locations and we encourage as many people to visit as possible.  

  • 29 June 2022

    School pupils dig visit from National Highways staff

    Birdlip School learns about A417 archaeological finds

    Our project team and representatives from Cotswold Archaeology took time out to visit Birdlip Primary School, where year 3 and 4 pupils got the chance to chat to the team about their jobs, plans to improve journeys between Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout and see what finds have been dug up along the route, which used to be the home to Romans.

    One item discussed was an almost 2,000-year-old figurine depicting Cupid, the Roman God of love, which was discovered along with a bow-shaped brooch, and a Roman or early Saxon skeleton.

    The items were found along the proposed 3.4 mile stretch of the new A417 Missing Link route and go some way to showing what life in the area was like thousands of years ago.

    The Cupid figurine is a rare find, with less than 50 known in the UK, and is one of only three that have been found as part of an archaeological dig as opposed to by metal detectorists.

    Made of solid bronze with wings and holding a flaming torch, the figurine was discovered in a deposit of charcoal, suggesting it could be an offering to the Gods.

    A417 staff at Birdlip

    Andrew Milner, Executive Head Teacher from Birdlip Primary School, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to study the A417 Missing Link in depth. The children engaged with the archaeology to find out exactly what came before the road and then where the new road will go and how it will look. The team took the time to answer all the questions fully, in a way that was relevant to the children and the staff who turned up.”

  • 18 May 2022

    Examination closes

    The Planning Inspectorate closes its examination of our proposals

    The Planning Inspectorate’s examination of our Development Consent Order application finished on Monday 16 May 2022.

    Over the last six months, people have had their final say on our preliminary design for the scheme. The Planning Inspectorate will now draft a report and make a recommendation of decision to the Secretary of State for Transport. We expect a final decision to be made later this year.

    In the meantime, Kier has been appointed to design and construct the new road. We are delighted to be working with them to move forward this vital scheme, which will considerably improve road safety, reduce traffic congestion and improve connectivity for road users and local communities, while unlocking economic growth in Gloucestershire and beyond.

    Kier will now   work closely with stakeholders over the coming months to refine the design of the new road and prepare for construction, which subject to consent, will start in early 2023.

    Visit the Planning Inspectorate’s website for the latest on our application. 

  • 06 April 2022

    Examination Progressing

    The Planning Inspectorate is continuing to examine our Development Consent Order application.


    We have amended our plans at FlyUp 417 bike park, which is near Crickley Hill. As a result, the Planning Inspectorate has published a revised examination timetable and will hold more hearings on 29 April to discuss this change. They will be live-streamed on its website and written transcripts will be published afterwards. More details can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.


    In addition to this, we have also responded to a number of written questions that were published by the Planning Inspectorate on 17 March. Our responses have been uploaded to its website, along with more detailed drawings of our proposed crossings and overbridges.

     

  • 24 January 2022

    Examination hearings start

    The Planning Inspectorate is currently reviewing our Development Consent Order (DCO) application and hold a series of virtual examination hearings.

    These online events are an opportunity for people who have requested to take part in the process, to speak directly to examining inspectors and raise any issues they may have.

    The Planning Inspectorate will live-stream the hearings on its website and written transcripts will be published afterwards. To find out more about the hearings, and to see what topics they will cover, visit the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

    You can see a project map and images of the new crossings we are proposing in our resource pack.

  • 17 November 2021

    Examination of Development Consent Order starts

    The Planning Inspectorate has announced the start of a six-month examination of our Development Consent Order (DCO) application and has published a detailed timetable.
    During the examination, the Planning Inspectorate will scrutinise our DCO application and seek information and comments from those who are interested in the scheme.

    The Planning Inspectorate has asked a series of questions about the application with the detail available on its website. The inspectorate has asked us, and others, to respond by 14 December 2021. Those who registered to take part in the examination in the summer have also been asked to send written comments about the application to the Planning Inspectorate by 14 December 2021. To view the examination timetable and to find out more, read the Planning Inspectorate’s Rule 8 letter, which can be found on its website.

  • 29 June 2021

    Development Consent Order application accepted for examination

    We are pleased to confirm that our proposals for the A417 Missing Link have been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate for formal examination.

    This signifies a huge step towards delivering a landscape-led highways scheme that will provide a safe and resilient free-flowing road while conserving and enhancing where possible the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    Thank you to everyone who has supported us getting to this point, providing your feedback to help us shape the scheme.

    Next steps

    The Planning Inspectorate will now examine the Development Consent Order (DCO) application through written representation and public hearings. They will then review all the evidence and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, who has the final decision on whether the scheme should go ahead.   

    The examination and decision-making process will take over a year. You can find our more information about this process and how to get involved on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

    Our application

    You can now view our full application on the Planning Inspectorate’s website and you’ll also find a few bits of useful information below.

Project information

Overview

The A417/A419 provides an important route between Gloucester and Swindon that helps connect the Midlands/North to the South of England. It's an alternative to the M5/M4 route via Bristol. The Missing Link itself is a three-mile stretch of single-lane carriageway on the A417 between the Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout in Gloucestershire.

The Missing Link causes many problems for road users and those who live or work in the area. Congestion can be frequent and unpredictable, so some motorists divert onto local roads to avoid tailbacks. This causes difficulties for neighbouring communities and local roads were not built to accommodate so much traffic. Poor visibility and other factors also mean that accidents, many of which are serious, occur frequently along this section of road.

Our aim is to improve this section of the A417 with a scheme that includes:

  • 3.4 miles of new dual carriageway connecting the existing A417 Brockworth bypass with the existing A417 dual carriageway south of Cowley
  • the section to the west of the existing Air Balloon roundabout would follow the existing A417 corridor. However, the section to the south and east of the Air Balloon roundabout would be offline, away from the existing road corridor
  • a new junction at Shab Hill, providing a link from the A417 to the A436 towards Oxford and into Birdlip
  • a new junction would be included near Cowley, replacing the existing Cowley roundabout
  • the existing A417 between the Air Balloon roundabout and the Cowley roundabout would be repurposed. We would convert some lengths of this existing road into a route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, while retaining other sections to maintain local access for residents.

A417 scheme map

Click on image to enlarge

Our scheme to improve the A417 Missing Link will bring significant benefits to the local area. We spoke to residents, local businesses and political leaders to find out the problems they face and how our scheme could benefit the south west. 

Our scheme has four key objectives:

  • Transport and safety: to reduce delays, create a free-flowing road network and improve safety along this stretch of the A417
  • Environment and heritage: to reduce the impact on the landscape, natural and historic environment of the Cotswolds and, where possible, enhance the surrounding environment
  • Community and access: to reduce queuing traffic and pollution, improve access for local people to the strategic road network, and support residents and visitors’ enjoyment to the countryside
  • Economic growth: to help boost growth and prosperity by making journeys more reliable and improving connectivity

 

In November 2022, Transport Minister Huw Merriman MP approved the major road upgrade to the A417 Missing Link scheme between Gloucester and Swindon, which will boost regional economies and transform journeys for millions of people. The Development Consent Order means we can now take action to improve this much needed stretch of road to make it safer and reduce traffic congestion and the knock-on effect of rat running in local villages. This will make it easier for people to get around, help support regional growth and improve life in local communities. 

Construction will start on the project in early 2023, and during the start of the year we'll be preparing for this. You may see people in high-visibility jackets out and about undertaking surveys and site visits.

Kier also continues to work very closely with key stakeholders to finalise the detailed design of the scheme, namely the crossings and embankments. It has held several collaborative sessions with key stakeholders, who have been able to input and influence the final design. 

You can find the latest updates for the project at the top of the website, which we'll keep updated as work continues.

 

What people are saying about our project?  

 

As we near construction later in the year, we’ve been reflecting on why this project is so important and been talking to people about what the scheme means to them.    

In the following video we hear from Sir Geoffrey Clifton Brown MP and the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne about the what the scheme will mean for local people:

In this video we hear from Julian Lavington, Chair of Birdlip Parish Council and Chris Nelson, Gloucestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner about what the scheme will mean for transport and safety:

This video features Kier’s Environmental Manager Claire Elliott and Andy Parsons from Cotswold National Landscape who explain the importance of protecting the special landscape of the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and what measures are being taken to do this:

Here, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, Kath Haworth, Assistant Director of Highways and Infrastructure at Gloucestershire County Council, and Steve Gardner-Collins, Director of Visit Gloucestershire explains what it means for the local community and tourism:

We also hear from David Owen at GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, Sam Holiday of the Federation of Small Businesses and a local business about how the project will help local businesses to thrive:

 

Reducing the impact of the A417 Missing Link on local communities
Our plans for the A417 Missing Link project have now been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate for consent.

When built, the new road will reduce queuing traffic and pollution, improve access for local people to the strategic road network and support residents’ and visitors’ enjoyment of the countryside.

The improvements we’re making will, however, impact local people during construction and once the new road is open. We’ve carried out many surveys and assessments to see what these impacts might be and how we can avoid or reduce them where possible. We’ve looked at things like local access, air quality, noise and visual impacts, which were the key concerns raised during public consultation last year.

Take for example the village of Cowley, from feedback we received during our consultation in autumn 2021, we know that there are some concerns about noise and visual impact of the new road, as well as an increase in traffic on local roads following the addition of Cowley junction. We’ve done lots of things to help reduce the impact at Cowley and the impact on the village will be reduced compared to our previous proposals, for example:

  • we’ve positioned the new road on lower ground, so that it and the Cowley and Stockwell bridges aren’t so visible
  • we’ve restricted motor vehicle access to Cowley from Cowley junction to avoid rat running. Local residents, walkers, cyclists and horse riders will still have access.
  • we’ll create earth embankments with plants and trees on either side of the new road to help reduce noise and help hide the road
  • we’ll use a low-noise road surfacing
  • we’ll manage construction activities and associated traffic very carefully to reduce impacts and disruption to local people and visitors

Cross section showing landscape bunds used to screen views of the road

This is not an exhaustive list but hopefully this gives you an idea of the types of things we are doing across the project to carefully consider the potential impacts on local communities, businesses and visitors to the area.

For more detailed information on how we will reduce the impact of construction, you can read our Construction Traffic Management Plan and Environmental Management Plan that were submitted as part of our application.

Survey work on the A417

As part of our design work we carried out surveys to see what impacts the project may have on the local area and how we could reduce them. We looked at things like local air quality, biodiversity, archaeology, and noise.

Using information from our surveys we made some changes to our design, this included:

  • adding add new wildlife crossings so wildlife can safely get across the road once it’s built
  • building man-made embankments on either side of the new road to help reduce noise
  • changing the gradient of the road at Crickley Hill to reduce the road’s visual impact

You can find out more by watching our short video about the survey work which we filmed earlier this year.

We’re committed to doing everything in our power to reduce the impact of the new road on local people and the important landscape of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Our survey results and plans for reducing the effects of the new road are also included in our Environmental Statement which we submitted as part of our Development Consent Order.  

Will the new road be future proof?

We’ve recently submitted a Development Consent Order application to the Planning Inspectorate, which outlines our plans to upgrade the A417 Missing Link in the Cotswolds.

This project will create a safer and more reliable road and reduce traffic jams and rat running in the local area.

During consultation in autumn 2020, many people asked if the scheme was future proof: would it be able to cope with any future traffic increases.

The answer to this question is yes. We use the latest computer software to calculate how many vehicles will use the road in the future and then design roads and junctions appropriately.

At the start of projects, we collect lots of data. We count traffic close to the new road and further afield. We also use things like anonymous mobile phone data to show where people are travelling to and from. This allows us to understand how many vehicles are using local roads and why.

We then run this data through computer software, approved by the Government, to check that it represents the real world and then use it as the starting point to forecast future traffic numbers.

We calculate future traffic numbers using information given to us by the local council and the Department for Transport. We’re expecting the Government to update this data to take into account changing habits as a result of Covid-19.

This process is known as traffic modelling and has influenced the design of the scheme, for example the size of Ullenwood and Shab Hill junctions. It also helps us to work out the new road’s impact on air quality and local roads and how we can reduce these impacts.

We’ve used the model to forecast future road traffic accidents and expect to see fewer fatal or serious accidents once the new road is built.

We also know from our calculations that in general, there will be less traffic on local roads after the road is built. This is because there will be less congestion on the A417 so less reason for drivers to use alternative local routes.

You can read more about local journeys on pages 7 and 8 of Moving forward: response to public consultation in 2020 and next steps.

During construction, we appreciate there may be a short-term temporary impact on the way people access and enjoy the area. However, in the longer term, the scheme will improve safety and journey times, which will benefit the local and regional economy and make the area a more attractive place to explore and visit.

To help minimise disruption during construction we will:

  • keep the existing road open during construction while we build the new road alongside
  • use the new road to transport material as soon as sections are built, which will reduce traffic on the existing road
  • reuse excavated materials from the existing landscape wherever possible
  • carefully plan and manage our roadworks to ensure we maintain safety at all times

Unlocking economic growth for Gloucestershire and beyond

The A417/A419 provides an important route between Gloucester, Cheltenham and Swindon that helps connect the West Midlands and the north to the south of England via the M5 and M4 motorways.

As things stand, local businesses have told us that congestion and delays on the A417 are costing them money. Journey time reliability is currently as low as 63.4%. Staff sometimes struggle to get to work on time, deliveries are frequently delayed and its difficult for businesses to plan and schedule deliveries or keep to appointment times.

By making the section of the A417 between the Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout into a dual carriageway, it will be able to take more cars, congestion and delays will be significantly decreased and journey times will be more reliable. We’re predicting that the new road will reduce the average journey times between Cirencester and the M5 by up to 30% westbound and 20% eastbound.

This will help local businesses grow and prosper, and in turn create jobs. This supports the aspirations of local councils and key business organisation, who have identified transport infrastructure improvements as essential to stimulate regional economic growth.

The new road will also make it easier for people to visit the area. Already, the county welcomes over 16 million visitors who spend more than £1.1 billion. The tourism industry also employs over 26,000 people – 8% of the region’s workforce. This would grow even further if access to the area was improved.

Improving road links will also support regional housing growth. There are lots more houses and major mixed-use development sites (housing and business) planned for the region, which will result in more cars, but will also require the A417 to operate reliably.

In terms of monetary benefits, we predict that there will be:

  • significant accident reduction benefits valued at £65 million
  • journey time savings valued at £314 million
  • business user journey time reliability benefits of £40 million
  • commuting and other user journey time reliability benefits of approximately £31 million
  • significant wider economic benefits totalling £140 million

You can find out more about what benefits the A417 Missing Link project will bring my watching our short video below which we filmed a few years ago.

Biodiversity on the A417 Missing link

The A417 runs through the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which is celebrated for its rich, varied, and high-quality landscape.

We’ve carefully designed the new road to reduce its impact on the AONB’s special landscape, wildlife, and plants. We’re doing a lot to avoid, reduce or offset any effects of the scheme – this is known as mitigation.

As part of the mitigation for this scheme and to improve biodiversity, we’re planting lots of new and good-quality woodland, grassland, trees and hedgerows that are local to the area. These will help preserve and create additional habitats for local wildlife in the area.

We know from the large number of surveys that we’ve done, what plants and trees grow in the AONB. We’ll plant similar species to ensure they match and grow well in the area.

We’ve worked together with environmental stakeholders, including Natural England, and will create more important habitats than we’re taking away during construction.

Some of the positive things we are doing to benefit the area include creating:

  • 41 hectares of new limestone grassland
  • 61 miles of new hedgerows
  • 34 hectares of new scrubland such as small bushes and trees
  • 57 hectares of new, native woodland
  • 5 miles of new Cotswold drystone walls

The habitats we’ll be creating have been carefully designed to help wildlife move around more easily. For example, we've made the Gloucestershire Way crossing more wildlife friendly by adding more grassland and hedgerow. These habitats will be separated from the footpath allowing bats, badgers and other wildlife to safely cross the road.

We’ll also be adding new areas of limestone grassland and trees either side of the new Gloucestershire Way crossing. This means wildlife, especially invertebrates such as rare beetles and butterflies, will be able to move easily between areas of similar habitat at Crickley Hill and Barrow Wake Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

To add to this, we’ll be building an underpass for bats. This will allow them to safely cross from one side of the A417 to another. We'll also create several tunnels under the road, known as a ‘wildlife culvert’ for badgers to safely and easily move around the area.

We will be planting road verges with species-rich grassland and native wildflowers. This will create ideal conditions for these grasslands to thrive and grow, help preserve and create new habitats for local wildlife, and help alleviate things such as noise from the road.

We’re continuing to work with environmental stakeholders and local landowners to explore further opportunities for improving biodiversity in the local area.

Further information about biodiversity can be found in Chapter 8 of our Environmental Statement which was submitted as part of our Development Consent Order application.

Alongside the A417 Missing Link improvements, we’re also continuing with our usual maintenance and repairs of the road. More information, along with other work closures on our network, can be found on our daily closures page.

Documents

A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Booklet
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Feedback Questionnaire
A417 Statement of Community Consultation - September 2019
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Consultation Plan - Climbing the Escarpment
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Consultation Plan - Overall Scheme
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Consultation Plan - Repurposed A417
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Consultation Plan - Shab Hill to Cowley Junction
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Red Line Boundary Plan
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Mainline Plan and Profile Sheet 1
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Mainline Plan and Profile Sheet 2
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Mainline Plan and Profile Sheet 3
A417 Missing Link Public Consultation - Mainline Plan and Profile Sheet 4
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report - Appendices
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report - Figures Volume 1
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report - Figures Volume 2
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report - Figures Volume 3
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report - Figures Volume 4
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report - Figures Volume 5
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report - Figures Volume 6
A417 Missing Link - Preliminary Environmental Information Report - Non Technical Summary

The Development Consent Order (DCO) process was established by the Planning Act 2008 and is used for certain large and complex schemes (including highway improvements) that have been designated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) by the Government.

The Secretary of State for Transport granted development consent for the A417 Missing Link Development Consent Order (DCO) on 16 November 2022. Links to key DCO documentation can be found below:

The made DCO is Statutory Instrument 2022 No. 1248 and is available to view at legislation.gov.uk.

Development Consent Order – Requirements Register

Requirements are conditions that have been included in the DCO, these control how the project must be implemented (constructed and maintained). Implementing the DCO in accordance with these conditions involves completing approval processes that have been defined in the DCO. These processes are referred to here and in the DCO as “discharging” the requirements.

This Requirements Register is a live document and will be updated as the process to discharge the requirements progresses.

The latest version will always be published below:

View the Requirements Register

This register will be maintained for three years following completion of the project. The register sets out:

  • each requirement
  • whether the requirement needs approval by the Secretary of State (or other duty holder)
  • whether any approval has been applied for or given

Traffic information

Information about scheduled roadworks and events on our motorways and major roads.

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