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Work on £250m A417 Missing Link road in Gloucestershire to start in 2020

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Written by: Gloucester Citizen & Gloucestershire Echo | Posted 11 February 2016 6:50

Work on £250m A417 Missing Link road in Gloucestershire to start in 2020
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Building will start on the A417 missing link in 2020, the Government has confirmed.

Doubts that work would be delayed were quashed by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin when he met Cheltenham's MP Alex Chalk on Tuesday.

Diggers will move in shortly after April 2020 to build the £250million bypass, which will create a new dual carriageway between Cowley and Brockworth, Mr McLoughlin said.

The start date was cast into doubt in January when Gloucestershire county councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD) said he was told a lenghty planning phase could cause delays.

"This is good news for Cheltonians, who want to see a solution to this notorious traffic black-spot," said Mr Chalk.

The stretch of A417 is notorious for traffic jams. The road is entirely dual track, except for the problem stretch.

Mr McLoughlin said: "Highways England will start full-scale options work on the scheme in financial year 2016/17, with the intention that the scheme will be ready to start construction as early as possible in the next Road Investment Strategy Period which starts on April 1 2020."

Mr Chalk said he was assured that means work will start in 2020.

The Secretary of State also apologised for any "inadvertent inconsistency in the messages conveyed".

Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown said he is "delighted" that Mr McLoughlin has confirmed the timetable.

Mr Hodgkinson has since defended his earlier claims that work would be delayed.

"It simply outlines the fact that even if it did start in 2020, none of us will be driving that road until 2023," said Mr Hodgkinson.

"We're still talking seven years away and that's the most optimistic scenario."

The problem of the missing link has been simmering for more than two decades.

Ideas scrapped included a £150m tunnel, a flyover five-lane super-highway at the Air Balloon pub and widening the current road.

A Highways England spokesman said: "We appreciate the environmental sensitivity of the site and the importance of the route to the local economy.

"We are currently in the very early stages of design and expect to consult on scheme options once they have been identified."

 

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