New A417 dual carriageway scheme will make dangerous road safer, according to experts

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: New A417 dual carriageway scheme will make dangerous road safer, according to experts New A417 dual carriageway scheme will make dangerous road safer, according to experts

ROAD safety experts are lending their voices to the campaign to eradicate the notoriously dangerous single-carriageway stretch of the A417 once and for all.

The problem road, which runs between Birdlip and Nettleton Bottom, has been the scene of more than 340 car accidents in the last 15 years.

Garry Handley, road safety partnership manager for Gloucestershire, said that, although the road is only as safe as those who use it, there is “something inherently wrong” with the road itself.

He said: “The safety benefits of being able to use a road that is designed and built to accommodate this volume and mix of traffic, as well as coping with the gradient of the escarpment and the junctions, are obvious.

“Improvement to this stretch would bring huge economic and social benefits as it is part of a strategic route and used by about 1,500 vehicles every hour,” he added.

Gloucestershire County Council is asking local residents and businesses to come together to convince the government to provide £250million to fund the A417 Loop, a project that, if successful, will see a new dual carriageway link Brockworth and Cowley.

While tackling the issue of daily traffic jams, it is also hoped that the new dual carriageway will go some way in improving the road’s appalling safety record.

The accident rate on the five kilometre stretch of road is twice that of the entire A417/A419, with a serious crash happening, on average, every two weeks.

Cllr Will Windsor-Clive, cabinet member for community safety, said the road needs to be able to cope with the massive amount of vehicles that use it every day.

“At best, drivers are delayed and at worst, tragic accidents can happen. The Loop will reduce congestion and all the problems that come with it,” he said.

It is hoped that the A417 Loop will 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, then there is a much higher chance of securing the vital funding when the government allocates cash in the spring of next year.

Support for the scheme can be pledged online by visiting www.a417missinglink.co.uk.

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