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

  • 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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