TRANSPORT Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited the ‘Missing Link’ today, Wednesday to discuss proposals for the A417 Loop to improve the 5km stretch of road.

The missing link is a 5km stretch of single carriageway on the A417 with the remaining route between the M4 at Swindon and M5 at Gloucester being dual carriageway.

With more than 34,000 vehicles a day, it is a significant bottleneck and has the worst average vehicle delay of all main routes in the south west. The road has also seen more than 340 casualties in the past 15 years.

At today’s visit the transport secretary was joined on Crickley Hill by Laurence Robertson MP, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP, Gloucestershire County Council’s Chief Executive Peter Bungard and Cllr Will Windsor-Clive Cabinet member for planning and infrastructure for a tour of the area and to discuss the proposed A417 Loop solution.

Gloucestershire County Council launched a campaign in January to encourage residents and businesses to back the A417 Loop - the only workable solution to the problem.

As well as an answer to the hundreds of lost business hours and the knock-on effect on the Gloucestershire economy, the loop would seek to improve the road's safety record with a number of highways improvements, from a new bypass of Nettleton Bottom to an additional dual carriageway down Crickley Hill.

In April the ‘missing link’ was added to a Highways Agency list of roads in the south west that need major improvements because of capacity, safety and environmental issues. This brought the scheme one step closer to finding funding when the Government allocates cash in spring 2015.

Gloucestershire County Council leader Mark Hawthorne took the county’s petition to Number 10 in May, calling for £255 million in Government cash to build the A417 Loop.

Almost 5700 people and business have already signed up to show their support for the A417 Loop, and with year central government making their funding decision next year the council is calling for even more to show their support now while there is still time.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for planning and infrastructure, said, "Getting this dangerous and congested stretch of road upgraded is Gloucestershire County Council’s number one transport priority. I’m delighted to welcome Patrick McLoughlin to Gloucestershire so he can see for himself just why the Government needs to fund the A417 Loop to fix this problem."

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