At a meeting on 19th March organised by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for The Cotswolds, and Laurence Robertson, MP for Tewkesbury, with Mike Penning MP, the Roads Minister at the Department for Transport, Gloucestershire’s MP and representatives of Gloucestershire County Council urged the Government to take action on the issue of the A417 ‘missing link’.
The meeting, also attended by Mr Clifton-Brown and Mr Robertson, along with Neil Carmichael, MP for Stroud, and Councillor Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, and Nigel Riglar, Director for Communities and Infrastructure at Gloucestershire County Council, was instigated in order to discuss possible solutions to the problems caused by the single carriageway 4 mile stretch of the A417 between Gloucester and Swindon.
The A417 is one of the most important gateways between the South West and the West Midlands and between London and South Wales. With over 30,000 traffic movements every single day, it is not surprising that this section of single carriageway is one of the worst pinch-points on the national road network. Traffic accidents, including fatalities, happen with alarming regularity.
Pertinent to today’s challenges are the twice daily rush hour congestion and resulting queues, which are getting worse. They regularly extend to 6 miles from the Air Balloon roundabout to the Duntisbourne turn. This is undoubtedly hampering economic growth in Gloucestershire and all of the surrounding counties.
At the meeting with the Roads Minister Mr Clifton-Brown also highlighted the environmental impact this has, particularly on the residents near the Air Balloon roundabout who have suffered significant health issues from high levels of pollution caused by the volume to congested traffic.
Commenting after the meeting Mr Clifton-Brown said: “We had a very useful meeting with the Roads Minister who very much appreciates the importance of this issue and the problems caused by the ‘missing link’.”
“This is a critical issue for the people and businesses of Gloucestershire. A scheme to completely resolve this issue is, unfortunately, going to cost hundreds of millions of pounds and in this era of constrained public spending such a scheme simply isn’t feasible at this time.”
“We have agreed that the Council and the Department for Transport will now go and, in conjunction, thoroughly re-examine this issue.”
“I very much hope that a viable solution can be identified and that, in time, we may begin to see some alleviation of the high levels of congestion on the A417.”
Source:Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP Member of Parliament for The Cotswolds