A417 missing link

Improving the connection between two dual carriageway sections of the A417 at Brockworth and Cowley.

Region:  South West
Start date:  TBC
Cost:  £250 to £500 million
Status:  PLANNED
Type:  Major Scheme
End date:  TBC

Progress report

Following the consultation that we held earlier this year on the options for the A417 Missing Link, we’ve been considering all of the responses very carefully. We’re using this information to inform the selection and development of our preferred route.

We’re also doing some additional engineering, environmental and economic work to help our decision. As part of this we’re carrying out several surveys over the coming months so you may see people in the area carrying out various activities. See the Environmental Impact section below for further information.

For more information about the latest A417 project developments, please read our latest newsletter which you can find in the 'Media and Documents' section below.

Web chats

If you have any questions, join our project team for a monthly web chat from 12:30pm until 1:30pm on the last Wednesday of every month. Just log on at the foot of this page on the day of the web chat and submit your questions.

Here are the dates and times for sessions over the next few months:

  • Wednesday 31 October 2018, 12:30-1:30pm
  • Wednesday 28 November 2018, 12:30-1:30pm
  • Wednesday 30 January 2019, 12:30-1:30pm
  • Wednesday 27 February 2019, 12:30-1:30pm

What's next?

We’re planning to announce our preferred route for the project in spring 2019. As part of this, we’ll publish the results of the consultation so that you can see how this has fed into our preferred route selection.

After we’ve selected our preferred route and carried out some more design work, we'll hold a second, statutory consultation to get people’s views on more refined proposals. This consultation will inform our application for a Development Consent Order (DCO).

A DCO is a special type of planning application, which is needed for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP). Following the submission of the DCO application, the Planning Inspectorate will hold a public examination before making a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, who will decide whether or not the project should go ahead.


Date Event
December 2014 Scheme announced
15 February – 29 March 2018 Route options consultation
April 2018 to spring 2019 selection and development of preferred route
Spring 2019 Preferred route announcement
Summer 2019 Statutory consultation
Late 2019 to early 2020 Submission of Development Consent Order (DCO)
Summer 2021 Development Consent Order (DCO) decision
Late 2021 Start of works
Spring 2024 Route open to traffic

Why we need this scheme

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.


We want to create a landscape-led highways improvement 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; reconnecting landscape and ecology; bringing about landscape, wildlife and heritage benefits, including enhanced visitors’ enjoyment of the area; improving local communities’ quality of life; and contributing to the health of the economy and local businesses.

The 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

The scheme in detail

There have been numerous attempts to improve the A417 Missing Link. For various reasons, including affordability and changes in investment priorities, these have never become a reality. In recent years, the case for improvement has become more compelling – to improve safety, support the economy, ease congestion and reduce pollution.

Earlier in 2018, we undertook our consultation on proposed route options for improving the Missing Link. This was the first opportunity for people to give us their views on our proposals. You can view the consultation materials on our consultation page. There will be more opportunities for people to tell us what they think of our proposals once we have announced and developed our preferred route.

We're currently working closely with the Department for Transport towards the selection and development of our preferred route in order to deliver a scheme that carefully balances the needs of the local landscape, environment and economy, while managing affordability and value for money.

Environmental impact

We’ve already completed our initial habitat surveys to help us understand the potential impact of our project. We are now carrying out several surveys so you may see people in your local area carrying out the following activities:

  • groundwater surveys – our teams will use public rights of way to review streams, springs and other groundwater features
  • intrusive groundwater surveys - our teams will be carrying out preparatory work for groundwater investigation studies. This includes using some drilling rigs alongside the existing A417 to help us measure underground water conditions. The full survey work will start in spring 2019.
  • topographical surveys - we'll be carrying out surveys to map the physical features of the landscape. This type of survey is known as a LiDAR survey and it uses remote sensors to examine the form of the landscape. Surveyors will also be on site along the existing A417 to take measurements of the landscape and surrounding area
  • ecology surveys – we'll be carrying out surveys to look for a range of species that may be present on the route, such as bats, dormice, otters and reptiles
  • unregistered land – we'll also visit areas of land that are not registered on Land Registry records to obtain further information on land ownership

You can read more about these surveys here:

Project media files and documents

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There are no videos for this project

Project timeline

Planned roadworks

Roadworks and Events for England

The latest incident information for England's motorway and trunk routes provided by Highways England

Location : The M5 southbound between junctions J11A and J12 . Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:30 on 18 December 2018 to 15:30 on 18 December 2018.
Posted: December 11, 2018, 8:10 am
Location : The A417 northbound between the junctions with the A419 and the A429 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Horticultural works are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:00 on 13 December 2018 to 16:00 on 13 December 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: December 10, 2018, 9:07 am
Location : The M5 northbound between junctions J12 and J11A . Reason : Emergency roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 09:30 on 17 December 2018 to 15:30 on 17 December 2018.
Posted: December 10, 2018, 9:07 am
Location : The A417 northbound between the A429 and the junction with the A436 . Lane Closures : Lane one will be closed. Reason : Horticultural works are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : From 19:00 on 13 December 2018 to 06:00 on 14 December 2018. Lanes Closed : There will be one of two lanes closed.
Posted: December 10, 2018, 9:07 am


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Please leave feedback
  • MG_Highways_England

    Good Afternoon everybody – I’m Michael Goddard, the Senior Project Manager for the A417 project. I’m here today to answer any questions you might have about it.

    • Helen Brittain

      Has there been any adverse results from the Eco surveys so far that may affect the application?

      • MG_Highways_England

        Hi Helen. We are analysing the results from the surveys completed over the summer and will share the results in the Scheme Assessment Report when we make a Preferred Route Announcement in the Spring.

        • Helen Brittain


  • MG_Highways_England

    It’s time sign off now – thanks for your questions. We’ll be back next month and look forward to chatting with you. If you have any queries in the mean time, please send an email through to A417missinglink@highwaysengland.co,uk.

  • Charlotte Collinson

    Hi everyone, I’m Charlotte and work in the project team for the A417 Missing Link scheme. I’ll be here until 13:30 if you have any questions about the project.

  • Dean Griffiths


    How will the upgraded road benefit local people?

    • Charlotte Collinson

      Hi Dean,
      A key benefit of the scheme is that it will reduce congestion which will make your journey times more predictable and improve road safety. This means your journeys between home and work, local villages and cities should be much easier. It’ll also mean that businesses can move goods and services around much more efficiently.
      We’re also looking at making improvements to access in the local area for people walking, cycling and horse riding – particularly the Cotswold Way National Trail and the Gloucestershire Way . This should mean people can get out more and enjoy the unique landscape safely.
      The scheme should also help create jobs in the local area and support housing growth as there will be more capacity on the road.

  • Mike Roberts

    I do a lot of cycling in the area, how will the upgrades benefit me?

    • Charlotte Collinson

      We are committed to making provision for cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders on all our road improvement schemes. Both the Gloucestershire Trail and the Cotswolds Way currently cross over the busy Air Balloon roundabout, which impacts on the experience of visitors to the area and locals alike. Both of our options provide opportunities to improve crossings for people using both the Cotswold and Gloucestershire Ways. The project team is currently developing a strategy for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to influence the preliminary design of the preferred route. This work includes improving connectivity by removing crossings at the same level as the existing A417 around Air Balloon roundabout and providing alternative, safer crossing points. We are seeking to maintain existing rights of way and, where possible, explore opportunities for providing new ones for pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists and other non-motorised road users.

  • Gill

    Could you tell me when the scheme will get built?


    • Charlotte Collinson

      Hi Gill,

      We’re currently aiming to start construction in late 2021, subject to gaining all the necessary planning consents. We’re still working on the design but we think it should take about 3 years to build.

      Hope that answers the question.

  • Charlotte Collinson

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for joining us. We’ll be back next month but if you have any questions in the meantime please email us at A417MissingLink@highwaysengland.co.uk .