A GROUP of politicians put on some high vis jackets on Friday to see the progress of the A417 Missing Link Project for themselves.

Included in the group was the secretary of state for transport, Rt. Hon Mark Harper MP, and Gloucestershire MPs.

They were invited by National Highways to tour the site on Friday, October 27.

The aim of the scheme is to deliver a safe and resilient free-flowing road while conserving and enhancing the special character of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
It aims to improve the connection between two dual carriageway sections of the A417 at Brockworth and Cowley, and links between the M4 and M5.
Construction works are now well underway, including archaeology and biodiversity enhancements, and the next stage will see the A417 at Crickley Hill widened and a new site access works on the A436.

Among those in attendance was Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for the Cotswolds constituency, who was impressed with the progress of the project.

He said: “I stood on Shurdington Hill with the then transport minister John Watts in 1996 who built the road that we christened the Missing Link, when local people could agree on what they wanted.

"At that time there was a vociferous campaign for a tunnel which was always unfeasible, so for me this is a welcome outcome of 15 years of often solo persistent campaigning.” 
Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “After many years of campaigning by Gloucestershire MPs, it is fantastic to see work on the A417 progressing, backed by significant government funding.
“This road is currently one of the most congested across Gloucestershire, and it was great to see first-hand how this investment will directly benefit the region."

National Highways’ chief executive Nick Harris said: “The A417 Missing Link is one of the busiest roads in the country and experiences congestion and delays on a regular basis. 
“It was a pleasure to welcome the secretary of state to the site so that he could see the great work we’re doing to improve this stretch of road as it moves to its next stage. 
“I’m sure having seen the works first-hand, he shares my confidence in the benefits this improvement is bringing to people and businesses.”