Call for Air Balloon solution to get some speed up

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson has been pressing for a solution to the notorious A417 Air Balloon for the last few years. The traffic blackspot sits within his county council division.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson called for urgent action over the Air Balloon rounadabout

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson has called for urgent action over the Air Balloon roundabout

Prior to the General Election, the outgoing Government confirmed that £250 million would be made available for a solution to the triple issues at the location – accidents, gridlock and pollution. At the time, there were suggestions that spades could even be in the ground by next year.

Recently, the mood music from the Government has changed and the local MP acknowledged in the press that the timings had slipped.

Highways England are managing the project. Now, Paul has spoken to their project manager about this to get a real timescale for the project:

“Residents regularly ask me what is happening and it has been very difficult to get decent information.

“Now, the Highways England project manager has told me:

‘In terms of the Major Project at this location, we are currently at the very early stages of this scheme and still identifying and defining options. It was announced in the Roads Investment Strategy as a scheme for delivery in the Roads Period 2 which runs from April 2020 to March 2025. As you likely know, there is a long options and development process to deliver schemes of this nature which will also require a Development Consent Order. As yet, we are still considering the options and timescales for this scheme but our application for DCO is unlikely to be any earlier than Spring 2019 and may not be until 2020.’

What this means is that Highways England will look at all the options for the solution at the Air Balloon, will consult with the public and councils and only after that will present their findings to the Transport Minister to seek approval for work to actually happen.

Paul says he finds this very worrying:

“This work to fix the problems won’t start until 2020 earliest and could be anytime up to 2025. I’m sure Cotswolds residents don’t want to sit in traffic for another 9 years, nor do residents there want to put up with the high levels of air pollution. The impact on the local and regional economy is big – so my message is let’s get on with this as quickly as possible and let’s get a firm commitment from the Government that they will push this up the agenda.”

3 thoughts on “Call for Air Balloon solution to get some speed up

  1. Helena McCloskey says:

    Paul, please keep me informed of developments. This black spot concerns residents in Charlton Kings as well as Cotswolds. Happy to help in any campaign/protest.

  2. Malcolm Lilley says:

    The thing is here guys, we won’t get much for £250M today as far as Civil Engineering is concerned. What we will get for that sum in 2020?

    Any successful Tenderer(s) are going to overshoot as is often the case in these matters, thus prolonging the agony.

    At some point, while any works are in hand, there is going to be one heck of a gridlock situation. I imagine that there will have to be traffic diversions, probably via the M5/M4 Motorways and considering that traffic is already extremely heavy on all our roads and increasing exponentially, perhaps we could consider, once more, a limit on Heavy traffic from using the Hill.

    Perhaps a toll on companies whose heavy vehicles need or want to use the hill could be levied?

    I know this would be a very unpopular short term solution, with knock-on costs, drivers hours etc, but there are simply far too many breakdowns and accidents at the spot as is.

    I know the situation has been thrashed to death already and a solution decided upon maybe, but in reality by 2020, what will it be like?

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