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 TBC
End date TBC
Cost £250 to £500 million

Latest updates

  • 28 September 2020

    Have your say

    Using your feedback, we’ve made some improvements to our proposals to build 3.4 miles of new dual carriage way on the A417 between Brockworth and Cowley. The changes will benefit local connectivity, accessibility and reduce the impact on communities, the environment, and the local landscape.

    To allow you to provide feedback on these changes, we’re holding a consultation from 13 October to 12 November 2020.

    While we welcome feedback on the entire scheme, the changes we’re seeking feedback on are:

    • new crossings: Cotswold Way and Gloucestershire Way crossings
    • the change in gradient of the A417 as it climbs the escarpment near Crickley Hill
    • the design of Cowley junction
    • the rerouting of the B4070 to Birdlip via Barrow Wake
    • improvements for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, including disabled users
    • the replacement of Common Land, which is a type of green space
    • the change in environmental effects as a result of the new design

    The feedback from this consultation will help Highways England develop its application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) that we plan to submit early next year.

    How to find out more

    Online consultation

    Our plans will be available on our dedicated consultation website, that will be available here from 00.01 on 13 October.

    You’ll be able to visit our online exhibition, learn more about our proposals and provide your feedback. Members of our team will also be available to answer your questions via a webchat function at the following times:

    Date Time
    Tuesday 13 October 11am - 2pm
    Tuesday 13 October 6pm - 8pm
    Friday 16 October  8am - 11am
    Friday 16 October 4pm - 7pm
    Saturday 17 October 9am - 1pm
    Tuesday 20 October 11am - 2pm
    Thursday 22 October 6pm - 9pm
    Saturday 24 October 1pm - 4pm
    Tuesday 27 October 8am - 11am
    Thursday 29 October 2pm - 5pm
    Monday 2 November 10am - 1pm
    Monday 2 November 6pm - 9pm
    Wednesday 4 November 4pm - 7pm
    Saturday 7 November 9am - 1pm
    Tuesday 10 November 8am - 11am
    Tuesday 10 November 6pm - 9pm
    Thursday 12 November 8am - 11am

    Home delivery

    If you do not have access to the internet or experience problems downloading the consultation materials, we can send you free of charge one printed copy of the consultation brochure, feedback form and a Freepost return envelope to your home.

    You can request materials by emailing A417MissingLinkatAirBalloon@highwaysengland.co.uk or calling 0300 183 5000.

    Telephone call back

    You can book a call back from a member of the project team to discuss the proposed changes by emailing A417MissingLinkatAirBalloon@highwaysengland.co.uk or calling 0300 183 5000. Call backs will be made Monday to Friday, 12pm to 7pm, between 13 October and 12 November.

    Live question and answer events

    We’re hosting five live question and answer events with our project team, focusing on different topics and specialist areas. At these events, our project team will give a short presentation to camera and then take questions from attendees. You can submit your questions using the chat function, which can be used anonymously.

    Theme Date Time
    Safety, traffic and engineering Monday 19 October  9.30am - 11am
    Landscape, wildlife and habitats Tuesday 20 October 9.30am - 11am
    Local access and public rights of way Wednesday 21 October  9.30am - 11am
    Land, property, business and tourism Thursday 22 October 9.30am - 11am
    Looking ahead - submission, examination and construction Friday 23 October  9.30am - 11am


    You can register for these by emailing A417MissingLinkatAirBalloon@highwaysengland.co.uk.

    How to have your say

    From 13 October you can submit a response by using one of the methods below, which are all free to use. Please note, we cannot guarantee that responses sent by any other means will be considered.

    Online response form

    Fill in the online survey

    Freepost

    Post your response for or comments to:

    FREEPOST A417 MISSING LINK

    (The Freepost address is the only text needed on the envelope, and no stamp is required)

    Email

    Email your comments to: A417MissingLinkatAirBalloon@highwaysengland.co.uk

  • 24 August 2020

    Survey update

    Ecology surveys

    Our countryside is home to some amazing plants, animals and habitats, and many of them are protected by law. Knowing exactly where they are is vital to making sure we can take steps to avoid them or keep any impact to a minimum.

    We’ve now nearly completed all our ecology surveys to inform our work on the A417 Missing Link. Our ecologists have been busy surveying potential habitats, feeding or breeding areas. This includes looking across an extended area; to identify any potential wider repercussions of our work, or any opportunities to enhance conservation value where we can.

    •	A red-tailed bumblebee on woolly thistle found at Barrow Wake during a walkover survey

    A red-tailed bumblebee on woolly thistle found at Barrow Wake during a walkover survey

    Surveying for bats at the top of Barrow Wake

    Surveying for bats at the top of Barrow Wake

    We’re currently carrying out some additional bat and habitat surveys to help us better understand the potential impacts of our latest design changes. We’ve used advanced survey techniques including radio-tracking bats, and our survey results have identified 15 of the 17 UK bats species within the area.

    •	A Roman snail found west of Crickley Hill during our Roman snail surveys

    A Roman snail found west of Crickley Hill during our Roman snail surveys

    Water surveys

    We’re starting some water surveys this week which will include looking at water quality and flow monitoring surveys, for both surface water and groundwater. We’ll also collect and analyse rainfall data. The results from the monitoring will help us to assess the likely impacts of our scheme during construction and once it is open to traffic. We’ll use this information to help ensure our scheme has a neutral or better impact on water quality and flow.

    Upcoming surveys

    We hope to be on site to begin archaeological trial trenching and agricultural land surveys during September 2020.

    You can read more about our survey work in the ‘Environmental’ section further down this page.

  • 03 August 2020

    Public consultation

    Despite the ongoing pandemic, we’ve been working hard since our consultation last autumn, to develop our plans for improving the A417 Missing Link between Brockworth bypass and Cowley roundabout. We’ve been reviewing your feedback to help us shape a scheme that is the best possible fit with the landscape, local people and road users. We’re now using your feedback to amend our design to improve local connectivity, accessibility and reduce the scheme’s impact on communities and the environment. These include:

    • The gradient of the A417 as it climbs Crickley Hill
    • Green bridge – identifying an improved and alternative solution
    • Cowley Junction – vehicle access issues to Cowley village
    • Barrow Wake – improvements to the route to Birdlip
    • Cowley junction – addressing your concerns about safety
    • Safe connectivity for walking, cycling and horse riding at Shab Hill junction, and between Brockworth and Crickley Hill
    • Surveys – Ongoing environmental and archaeological surveys

    We’ve published a project update video and newsletter, to keep you informed on the latest project developments.

  • 03 August 2020

    Development Consent Order

    As a result of this work and to ensure we complete all the necessary surveys, we need some additional time before we submit our Development Consent Order (DCO) application, which we now anticipate doing in 2021. We’re hoping some of these changes will reduce the construction period, meaning less disruption for people using the road during that time.

    We’ll be continuing our survey work to allow sufficient time for any required mitigation before we start construction of the scheme. This includes water environment surveys, agricultural land classification surveys, geotechnical information surveys and archaeological trial trenching. More information on what each survey is, and what work is involved to gather the information we require, can be found below in our ‘Environmental Documents’ section.

    We’re fully focussed on delivering the best practicable solution for you and for the region, as established in the government’s second Road Investment Strategy, published earlier this year.

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.

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

 

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

Traffic information

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

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