A CAMPAIGN to fix the notorious stretch of single carriageway on the A417 near Birdlip has attracted cross-party support from political leaders on Gloucestershire County Council.
The four party leaders have thrown their weight behind the project to secure £250million in government funding to build a new dual carriageway linking Nettleton Bottom with the Air Balloon roundabout.
Cllr Colin Hay, leader of the Liberal Democrats on GCC, said: “This is the county at its best – all political parties working together to sort out a common problem, in this case, one of the region’s worst bottlenecks.”
In the two weeks since its inception, the A417 Loop campaign has received backing from more than 2,000 people and businesses across Gloucestershire.
“It is great to see more and more people getting behind the project each day. With over 2,000 pledges of support, word is definitely spreading about the chance we have to fix this bottleneck once and for all,” said Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of the current Tory administration.
It is hoped that with continued support the scheme can get off the ground and be added to the Highways Agency’s list of future road scheme priorities at the end of March, as part of its ongoing Route Based Strategy Work.
If the project is added to the list then there is a much higher chance of securing the vital funding when the government allocates cash in the spring of next year.
Cllr Lesley Williams, the county council’s Labour leader, said: “The A417 is a busy road and of vital economic importance for all those who live and work in Gloucestershire. Let’s make it safe.”
The road, which is used by around 34,000 vehicles every day, is renowned for its high rate of accidents and daily traffic jams.
On average, a serious crash happens on the road every two weeks and since 1998 11 people have been killed as a result.
GCC’s Independent leader, Cllr David Prince said: “Hold ups experienced by commuters and business alike on the A417 on what is a daily basis are unacceptable. We must now ensure its implementation is sooner rather than later.”
This week the county council announced that it has spent half a million pounds on developing the A417 Loop plans, which included completing studies and gaining match funding.
Local businesses, residents and commuters are urged to show their support for the project by signing up and pledging their backing at www.a417missinglink.co.uk.