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

On 14 March 2019, we announced Option 30 as our preferred route for the A417 Missing Link. We’ve modified and improved the route as a result of your feedback during our route options consultation held last year.

Overall, the consultation demonstrated huge support for improving the Missing Link, and, in particular for route Option 30. We believe that Option 30 presents the best opportunity to deliver a landscape-led highways improvement scheme which meets all of our key objectives and delivers a return on investment.

View a map of the Option 30 route.

Visit our consultation page for detailed information about the preferred route and how we’ve taken your feedback into account.

What's next?

We’re now working hard to get ready for our next consultation which he hope to start in summer 2019. We’re carrying out some more surveys and assessment work so we can design the scheme in more detail.

When we launch our consultation you’ll have the chance to comment on our proposals, which will be more detailed than the previous consultation, before we make any further amendments and submit our planning application. Our planning application is known as a Development Consent Order, which is a special type of planning permission required for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. You can find out more information about this planning process on the National Infrastructure Planning website.


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

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.

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.


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

There are no images 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 J12 and J13 . Lane Closures : The hard shoulder is closed. Reason : Roadworks. Status : Currently Active. Period : expect disruption until 21:00 on 13 September 2019.
Posted: August 24, 2019, 10:36 am
Location : The A40 westbound between the A48 and the junction with the A4136 . Reason : Roadworks are planned. Status : Pending. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 07:00 and 18:00 from 27 August 2019 to 30 August 2019. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 07:00 and 18:00 from 2 September 2019 to 6 September 2019. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 07:00 and 18:00 from 9 September 2019 to 13 September 2019. Schedule : Expect disruption everyday between 07:00 and 18:00 from 16 September 2019 to 20 September 2019.
Posted: August 22, 2019, 5:03 pm
Location : The M5 northbound between junctions J13 and J12 . Lane Closures : The hard shoulder is closed. Reason : Roadworks. Status : Currently Active. Period : expect disruption until 06:00 on 15 September 2019.
Posted: August 21, 2019, 4:40 pm
Location : The A40 westbound between the A48 and the junction with the A4136 . Reason : Roadworks scheme. Status : Currently Active. Period : from 07:00 on 21 August 2019 to 18:00 on 29 November 2019.
Posted: August 21, 2019, 4:40 pm


Breaking News: Traffic Information

Breaking News

The latest current breaking news items for England's motorway network

The A49 is closed in both directions between the A4137 and the A40 due to a collision
Posted: January 1, 1970, 12:00 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 .

  • AM_Highways_England

    Good afternoon everyone,
    I’m Alan McNeil, the Assistant Project Manager on the A417 Missing Link project. I am here to answer any questions you may have relating the scheme.

  • James Tindale

    How will the new road reduce accidents in the area?

    • AM_Highways_England

      Hello James,
      Currently there is poor visibility on the A417 as well as steep gradients, which is a particular issue for HGV’s at Crickley Hill and the Air Balloon roundabout. We are looking to develop a design to reduce the gradient as much as possible and one which allows for free flowing traffic through the scheme. Additionally we are looking at ways to improve the interface with traffic and Cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders. The proposed scheme will also reduce rat running through the surrounding villages.

  • Becky Andrews

    Are you planning on building a bridleway for horse riding?

    • AM_Highways_England

      Hi Becky,
      We are currently looking at opportunities for horse riding and how best we can accommodate and improve the existing bridleway network. We will look to share more details on this once further design has been undertaken.

  • Chris Clement

    Hello. Could you please tell me who are the consultants you are using to prepare the environmental statement and DCO submissions please? Thanks

    • MG_Highways_England

      Hi Chris, thanks for your question. Our current suppliers are Mott MacDonald – Sweco, a joint venture between two established consultancies. We will be holding a tender exercise to appoint consultants for the next phase and this will include the items you mention above as well as our preliminary design.

      • Chris Clement

        Thanks Mike. I live in Brockworth, so this scheme is close to my heart! I’m also an environmental advisor on major cross country linear projects, so I’d be really keen to speak to someone regarding potential opportunities (apologies for the blatant pitch!). Any pointers for this I would be greatly appreciate. PS, keep up the good work, this scheme is long overdue, and well needed! Cheers, Chris

        • MG_Highways_England

          Thanks for your support Chris, we really appreciate it. For opportunities to work with us, I would advise that you should probably approach the supplier once announced.

          • Chris Clement

            Many thanks Mike.

  • MG_Highways_England

    Good afternoon everybody, Mike Goddard here. I’m the Senior Project Manager for the A417 Missing Link project and I’m here to answer any questions you my have.

    • MG_Highways_England

      Thanks for your questions – we’ll be back next month.

  • Charlotte Collinson

    Hi everyone, its Charlotte here from the A417 project team. I’ll be around until 13:30 this afternoon if you have any questions.

    • Richard Palmer

      Hi Charlotte. My name is Richard Palmer and I work for Arqiva who own the 66m high mast at Shab Hill. I have a 3 queries. With the Consultation period do you have dates when this will start from? I assume there will be detailed drawings to inspect at this time?

      • Charlotte Collinson

        Hi Richard,

        Thanks for getting in touch. We’re currently working out our programme to take us up to the submission of a Development Consent Order. We haven’t got fixed dates yet, but will look to hold the consultation later this year.

        Once we have confirmed dates we’ll publish them on the webpage, advertise it in the newspaper and be in touch with our stakeholders. If you’d like to be added to our circulation list you can sign up on the webpage or email your details to A417MissingLink@highwaysengland.co.uk.

        Regarding detailed drawings – yes we’ll have these available at consultation – they will be online, at our information points and at all consultation events.

        Hope that helps,

  • Richard Palmer

    I have looked at the route and the flypast video and note that the route and the proposed Shab Hill junction will be close to the mast site. Once we have more detailed drawings, then this will help, but our concerns would be any obstacles to the numerous transmission dishes that are on the mast. In between 14m and 20m altitude there are about 12 transmission dishes, some of which are directional over the new carriageway and roundabout areas. Whilst there is a cutting proposed, there is also an embankment further south. It will be important that the engineering works do not block these transmissions (ie the use of high cranes) and that the resultant carriageways as well as any additional tree planting/landscaping takes our concerns into account. Once we can see drawings with proposed levels and landscaping works during the later consultation phase, then we can advise further. Thus just drawing your attention to this matter and wonder if you have any comments at this stage.
    Also, I note that there will be new feeder roads leading to the new roundabout connections at Shab Hill. It is important that we have 24 hour access to our site for any engineering works and if there are closures, that we aret kept informed of any local road closures well in advance.

    • Charlotte Collinson

      Thanks Richard that is useful to know so that we can feed it into the design work. I’ve just passed on a message to another member of the project team to flag your query and information provided. I believe as part of the more detailed design stage we’ll look at utilities etc. If you’d like to send your contact details through to the inbox I mentioned earlier, I can arrange for one of the team to give you a call/email to discuss in a bit more detail.


      • Richard Palmer

        Thanks for your advice.

  • Charlotte Collinson

    I’m logging off now but we’ll be back next month. In the meantime if you have any questions please contact us at A417MissingLink@highwaysengland.co.uk.

  • AM_Highways_England

    Good afternoon, I am Alan McNeil, Assistant Project Manager for the A417 Missing Link project and I’m here to answer any questions on the project that you my have.

  • Josh Stephens


    I live at 1 Oxford cottages on the A436. We are currently selling our house as I have bad health and can no longer work. We are moving to Somerset so family can help care for me. Unfortunately we have just had our buyers pull out because of the uncertainty around how the A436 will join the new option 30 road. I notice from the website that there are three options for the A436 to join the new road. Option 3 would put the new link road within a few hundred meters of our house. I know the route option consultation period has closed. It says that the preferred route announcement is in spring. Are you able to give me a date of when this will be? We would like to give any potential buyers of the house as much information as possible.
    Thank you


    • AM_Highways_England

      Hi Josh. With regards to the 3 alternative A436 link road options we will have more info and a decision on this by our statutory consultation, date to be confirmed but currently planned for later this summer. I appreciate your situation and if you would like us to arrange a call or meeting to discuss further please contact us with your contact details via our scheme inbox (A417MissingLink@highwaysengland.co.uk) and we can arrange something.


  • AM_Highways_England

    Thanks again for the question Josh. The preferred route announcement on the main route was made in March and highlighted Option 30 as our preferred option. You can find a copy of our preferred route announcement leaflet on our consultation page, link to consultation page can be found in the ‘Progress Report’ section above.

    Hope this helps

  • AM_Highways_England

    Thanks for the questions. I will sign off but if anyone would like to contact us please feel free to use the scheme inbox and contact details.

    Thanks again

  • AM_Highways_England

    Good afternoon, It’s Alan McNeil here to answer your A417 question’s for the next hour. I am the Assistant Project Manager for Highways England.

  • AM_Highways_England

    I will log off now, any questions feel free to contact us through the A417 inbox – A417MissingLinkatAirBalloon@highwaysengland.co.uk