Motorists hoping for quicker journey times through Gloucestershire will have to wait longer after it was revealed the completion of the £435million A417 has been delayed, writes Leigh Boobyer.
Highways England has confirmed the new dual-carriageway, which will connect the M4 at Swindon to the M5 in Gloucestershire, will be open “by the end of 2025” – a year after its scheduled opening.
It did not confirm why the delay has been made.
Earlier this year it was revealed that submission of the project to the Planning Inspector had been delayed to 2021, partly because of National Trust’s objection to a proposed green bridge on its land, which would allow walkers to cross the new road at Crickley Hill.
On Thursday Gloucestershire County Councillor Paul Hodgkinson (LD, Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) wrote on social media that construction will not start until 2023, and “this broken promise is very disappointing”.
The A417 Missing Link would see 3.6 miles of dual-carriageway connecting the A417 Brockworth bypass with the A417 south of Cowley.
The project would see a new junction at Shab Hill, providing a link from the A417 to the A436 towards Oxford and into Birdlip.
Both the Air Balloon roundabout and Cowley roundabout are to be removed as part of the scheme, and a new sloping lane will be introduced leading up the A417 for vehicles to overtake heavy good vehicles safely.
Michael Goddard, Senior Project Manager for the A417 Missing Link scheme, said: “The A417 is a crucial route for connectivity between the Midlands and the South West, and we need to make sure it is safe and reliable.
“We are using the results of our public consultation to inform further design and development work.”