At last there is a date (2021) for work to begin on the Birdlip “Missing Link”. The sceptics among us will believe it when it happens but the naming of the actual year for starting is a hopeful sign.

I am waiting to hear of nature lovers say the Air Balloon roundabout is the only place where the Curious Cotswolds Caterpillar breeds, or perhaps it could be the lesser Spotted Leckhampton Lizard. I am sure they will protest until the last minute.

Of course it is said that the popular pub will be demolished. So many of us have grown up with that familiar landmark, but we have also grown up with the perpetual traffic jams. More importantly we grew up with knowledge of traffic accidents, casualties and fatalities. These statistics make out a clear case for the improvements. Of course a bottleneck exists and worse still it is a dangerous one. This should have been foreseen and the problem never have been allowed to exist.

For many of us it will mean our county town becomes more accessible. Gloucester Quays the cathedral, Kingsholm an so much more will be easy to reach. The whole city will benefit economically.

Those living in GL7 think of Swindon, Cheltenham, Bath and Oxford before Gloucester. Of course the city will still have to compete with its rurals but at least the playing field will believe.

We shall have a speedy and safe route with fine views in both directions. To the west will be the familiar shape of May Hill with the Severn in the foreground. Returning will be the distant panorama of the Wiltshire and Berkshire Downs and on a clear day the White Horse at Uffington may be visible. Poet Frank Mansell wrote that “The roads run down to Gloucester Town.” Now the A417 will be a pleasure to see.