Community has been kept in the loop on road

Ian Mean
Director of Business West Gloucestershire | Business West
27th March 2024

Good communication and transparency are two essentials of any big business project, particularly if it involves roads and local communities.

A prime example of good communication is how Kier, the main contractor for the huge £460 million A417 “Missing Link” road project, have gone about their business.

I visited their site at Shab Hill, Birdlip, last week and was mightily impressed in how they are involving our local communities in the initial phases of the project.

This is currently the largest public roads project being managed by National Highways in Gloucestershire, and one of the biggest and most complex in the UK.

However, it’s not before time.

When I first came to Gloucestershire as an editor over 20 years ago, I started campaigning for the A417 at Crickley Hill to be sorted.

Not only was it a nightmare road for death and injuries but it was a huge roadblock for business.

Apart from increasing safety, the new 3.4 miles of road is estimated when open to cut journey times by nearly 30% at peak times.

National Highways estimate this is the equivalent of £272 million in journey time savings.

In terms of economic growth, upgrading of this relatively short stretch of road will support growth across the South West.

Business will be enabled to move goods and services more easily, and help staff get to and from work more quickly and safely.

This is an enormous operation with about 700 workers due to be on the site this summer, and the National Highways project director tells me they are on track to open to traffic in February 2027.

The sympathetic attitude to the local environment by Kier has been quite extraordinary in its detail.

Up to 16 ecologists have been working on the site and 2000 metres of badger fencing have been erected to keep them off the road.

The up to date communication to business and our local communities on this vast project-particularly the road closures-has been excellent.

Kier and National Highways deserve great credit for keeping us all in the picture.

You can find out more about the project developments in the A417 Missing Link's most recent newsletter.

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