One of the two options for fixing the notorious A417 at the Air Balloon has today been backed by the county's Liberal Democrats.
Last month, Highways England launched a 6 week consultation into two schemes they believe will fix the triple problems of gridlock, pollution and accidents at Gloucestershire’s number one traffic blackspot.
The two options on the table both have new roads looping around the existing single carriageway road at Birdlip and the Air Balloon roundabout. Highways England have tabled ‘Option 30’ as their preferred choice. It includes a dual carriageway in the Cirencester to Gloucester direction and three lanes coming uphill from Shurdington.
Now, the county’s Lib Dem group have come out in favour of ‘Option 30’ and pledged its wholehearted support for getting the scheme underway as quickly as possible.
Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, Leader of the County Council Liberal Democrats, represents the Air Balloon area and says his group are 100% behind the scheme: “Having campaigned persistently for a solution to all the problems at the A417 we feel we must get behind the most realistic option. If anyone prevaricates now the chance to fix this decades old problem will slip away. I’ve talked to local residents and the overwhelming majority go with this option.
“We say loud and clear that we support Highways England’s preferred option and I will be writing to them to give it our total support. We owe it to the many who are held up at this blackspot and to the many who have had accidents there. Let’s get behind this option and finally get it sorted!”
Cllr Joe Harris, Leader of the Cotswold District Council Lib Dems and Cllr Jenny Forde (Chedworth & Churn Valley), also back the project: “We're pleased that we’re finally at a stage where we know what the solution to the ‘A417 Missing Link’ is going to look like. The Cotswold Lib Dems have been instrumental in helping to get the District Council behind a solution.
“Option 30 is the best scheme on the table as it avoids close contact with Birdlip and Cowley and Lib Dem District Councillors are seeking agreement at Cotswold District Council to formally recommend this as the Council’s preferred option.”