THE multi-million pound A417 Missing Link project has been delayed because roads bosses said they need more time to get paperwork in order.

Highways England said it needs more time to submit a Development Consent Order (DCO) application for the  £435million scheme which will provide a full dual-carriageway from the M4 at Swindon to the M5 in Gloucestershire when it is complete.

Feedback from a public consultation last autumn has led to Highways England needing further design and development work on the scheme, including the concept of the green bridge and its location on the landscape.

It means any application won’t be submitted until next year as opposed to 2020. The project is scheduled for completion in 2024.

It said the changes are hoped to reduce the construction period, meaning less disruption for people using the road during that time.

The A417 Missing Link would see 3.6 miles of dual-carriageway connecting the A417 Brockworth bypass with the A417 south of Cowley.

The project would see a new junction at Shab Hill, providing a link from the A417 to the A436 towards Oxford and into Birdlip.

There would be a green bridge near Crickley Hill to provide a ‘wildlife corridor’, while a new junction would be included near Cowley to replace the existing Cowley roundabout.

Both the Air Balloon roundabout and Cowley roundabout are to be removed as part of the scheme, and a new sloping lane will be introduced leading up the A417 for vehicles to overtake heavy good vehicles safely.

What Highways England is looking at which has caused an application delay

The gradient of the A417 as it climbs Crickley Hill.

Green bridge – the concept of the green bridge and its location in the landscape.

Cowley Junction – vehicle access issues to Cowley village.

Barrow Wake – improvements to the route to Birdlip.

Safe connectivity for walking, cycling and horse riding at Shab Hill junction, and between Brockworth and Crickley Hill.

‘We need to make sure it is safe and reliable’

Michael Goddard, senior project manager for the A417 Missing Link scheme, said: “The A417 is a crucial route for connectivity between the Midlands and the South West, and we need to make sure it is safe and reliable.

“We are using the results of our public consultation to inform further design and development work.”