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.
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.
Air quality is poor and the unreliable journey times are preventing businesses from competing with neighbouring regions and inward investment into Gloucestershire is also hampered.
Daily, more than 34,000 vehicles use this road, 14% of which are HGVs, with traffic projections increasing year on year. We know the problem is only going to get worse.
One of the biggest problems that affects residents is the A417 'Missing Link'. If you live in villages like Coberley you'll know only too well the problems caused by traffic using the villages as a short cut at busy times. If you live in the wider area and travel to Gloucester, Cheltenham or further afield you're probably used to sitting in traffic as a result of the congestion at the Air Balloon roundabout.
I've been campaigning with residents and businesses for years to try and secure a solution which is now in sight.
Under the coalition government funding was secured to get a solution in place funding but work is not expected to begin until 2021.
Despite this there are still concerns about the timetable slipping and the continued commitment of the Conservative government to fund it in the face of Brexit and uncertainties. I will continue to work hard with my colleagues to ensure that this project does happen and that we can finally end the A417 missing link saga.