National Highways, the UK government-owned company responsible for England’s motorways and major A roads, has awarded a £460 million contract to construction group Kier to upgrade the “Missing Link” section of the A417 between Gloucester and Swindon.
The “Missing Link” is a three-mile stretch of single carriageway on the A417 in Gloucestershire. Congestion can be frequent and unpredictable, so some motorists divert onto local roads to avoid tailbacks. This causes difficulties as local roads were not built to accommodate so much traffic. Poor visibility and other factors also mean that accidents occur frequently along this section of road.
The long-awaited project will include 4 miles of new dual carriageway connecting the existing A417 Brockworth bypass with the existing A417 dual carriageway south of Cowley. New habitats and habitat connections for native wildlife including bats, bees and badgers will also be created.
The Planning Inspectorate is currently examining National Highways’ Development Consent Order (DCO) application and the UK’s Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps is expected to make a decision on the route in the autumn.
“Kier has an extensive track record working with National Highways and delivering large scale infrastructure projects, so we are confident they will deliver a scheme that meets our landscape-led vision,” says Michael Goddard, National Highways project director for the A417. “We will work together to deliver a project that is sympathetic with the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and will support economic growth, improve traffic flows at peak times and make the road safer.”
Paul Baker, Kier Highways project director, says: “Delivering highways infrastructure which is vital to the UK is Kier Highways’ purpose and we are proud to be doing this through the delivery of the A417 contract. We look forward to working with National Highways and our supply chain partners to deliver this vitally important infrastructure project to improve the connectivity of the strategic road network.”
The Kier team will include Volker, Arup, Tony Gee and RPS to prepare for and construct the route.