LIBERAL Democrats from the County Council have unanimously backed one of the two options to fix the Air Balloon roundabout.

Highways England launched a 6-week consultation last month into two schemes to fix the gridlocked blackspot.

The two options available 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.

Option 30 includes a dual carriageway in the Cirencester to Gloucester direction and three lanes coming uphill from Shurdington.

Meeting at Shire Hall, the county’s Lib Dem group has 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 said: “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 decade old problem will slip away.

“I’ve talked to 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, added: “I’m 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.”