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

  • 29 June 2021

    Development Consent Order application accepted for examination

    We are pleased to confirm that our proposals for the A417 Missing Link have been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate for formal examination.

    This signifies a huge step towards delivering a landscape-led highways scheme that will provide a safe and resilient free-flowing road while conserving and enhancing where possible the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

    Thank you to everyone who has supported us getting to this point, providing your feedback to help us shape the scheme.

    Next steps

    The Planning Inspectorate will now examine the Development Consent Order (DCO) application through written representation and public hearings. They will then review all the evidence and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, who has the final decision on whether the scheme should go ahead.   

    The examination and decision-making process will take over a year. You can find our more information about this process and how to get involved on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

    Our application

    You can now view our full application on the Planning Inspectorate’s website and you’ll also find a few bits of useful information below.

  • 21 May 2021

    Environmental surveys

    In preparation to submit our Development Consent Order in June 2021 we’ve been carrying out lots of environmental surveys around the local area. You can read more about these and what else we’ve been up to in our latest newsletter. 

  • 12 February 2021

    Unearthing local history

    Whilst planning the road, we’ve been doing surveys in the area to identify local archaeology and where we may need to reduce impact of the scheme. Whilst delving into the past we’ve found some fascinating artefacts that provide some clues to what the area was like thousands of years ago. 

    This area is steeped in history. We already know for example that the settlements at Crickley Hill and the barrows at Emma’s Grove date back to the Neolithic period, and that people lived in the area right the way through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and during Roman occupation. 

    We also know that the A417 is built on the route of an old Roman road, and that it has previously provided archaeologists with evidence of Roman villas and temples. So, we expected to find some interesting archaeology during our search.

    Figurine of the Roman God, Cupid

    The figurine of the Roman God, Cupid, is a rare find 

    On our quest to find out more, our team of archaeologists discovered a solid bronze figurine of Cupid holding a flaming torch. Found in a deposit of charcoal, the God of love could have been an offering to the Gods. If we’re correct, it could date back to as early as the 3rd Century before the Roman Empire became Christian. This rare finding - with less than 50 known in the UK- could have been laid to rest in a temple dedicated to the Gods, which were common during the period and often situated at the side of the road.

    Roman brooch

    The brooch we discovered gives us an early insight into the day to day lives of Romans

    Other items unearthed by our team include an archer’s broach, which we think was used to hold cloaks in place, and a skeleton. The skeleton is shrouded in historical mystery as it was found face down. Our lead archaeologist – who has never come across something like this before - believes that the positioning of the skeleton could be a sign that the person was unpopular or maybe it was a crime.

    Out of respect for the dead, the mystery skeleton was only partially excavated and then reburied. We’ve removed the other artefacts for further analysis by the County archaeologist and we hope they will later be displayed in a local museum for the enjoyment of residents and visitors. These discoveries will help build up a picture of what life used to be like in this area and will enrich local historical records

    We’re working in collaboration with Gloucestershire County Council and Historic England to agree ways of reducing the impact of the scheme on archaeology in the area. In some cases, we’ll change our plans to avoid disturbing known archaeology. Where this isn’t possible, we’ll carefully remove important archaeology, so it can be properly analysed, recorded and preserved for generations to come.

  • 13 November 2020

    Our consultation is now closed

    Our consultation on the A417 Missing Link closed on Thursday 12 November 2020. Thank you to everyone who submitted a response. We’re now carefully considering your feedback before we submit our Development Consent Order application in the first half of 2021.

    You can still view all the consultation materials either on our consultation page or via our online exhibition room, but you won’t be able to submit a response now the consultation has closed.

    Due to the pandemic, we used some new digital tools on this consultation and we’re now evaluating what worked well and what might need some improvement. If you have five minutes to spare, we’d welcome your feedback on this survey.

  • 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.

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

The DCO process was established by the Planning Act 2008 and is used for certain large and complex schemes (including highway improvements) that have been designated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) by the Government.

The benefits of the DCO process include extensive pre-application consultation, detailed analysis, including a full Environmental Impact Assessment, and examination by an independent inspector before the final decision is made.

The Planning Inspectorate accepted our application for examination on 29 June 2021. You can view our full application on the Planning Inspectorate's website. You may also find the summary documents below helpful.

Moving forward: response to public consultation in 2020 and next steps

A guide to the A417 Missing Link Development Consent Order application

Traffic information

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

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