A417 Missing Link campaign!

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RichardEvans67
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by RichardEvans67 » Tue Jun 15, 2021 22:16

by SteveA30 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:18

That will be a project worth visiting
Shame I'm too far away :(
I hope there will be some good pictures online.

fras
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by fras » Wed Jun 16, 2021 08:15

So how long before "shovels in the ground" assuming the planning permission is granted soon ?

RichardEvans67
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by RichardEvans67 » Tue Jun 22, 2021 01:29

by fras » Wed Jun 16, 2021 08:15

So how long before "shovels in the ground" assuming the planning permission is granted soon ?
Getting a DCO, nearly always takes almost exactly a year. So hopefully it would be granted around about June 2022.

It then seems to vary a great deal. But perhaps a reasonable estimate is about another year, to appoint a contractor, and to get the detailed design done.

So, I'd guess a start around about mid 2023. Although there are plenty of ways things could go wrong, or get delayed. Also, when they do start, they tend to start with things like diverting utilities. So it would be quite a while after that before you start to see major work.

Road improvements take a long time.

fras
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by fras » Tue Jun 22, 2021 08:59

Yes, road improvements do take a lot of time.
The new A556 DC between Jns 19 M6 and Jn 7 M56 was about 30 years in the making. Of course it suffered the usual politicking cancellation in 1997 just as work was about to start. HOwever, the absolute textbook example of failure of government both central and local is the A500 Barthomley Link. The Highways Agency built a very ambitious A500 West DC bypass around the village of Hough from the existing A5020 roundabout to Nantwich, but the road from the M6 to the A5020, the Barthomley Link, was left untouched presumably for a later build. Then the Labour government sloughed-off about one third of the strategic road network to local councils, and the A500 West passed to Cheshire CC who did absolutely nothing. Now Cheshire East have woken up from their slumber and in 2022, the Barthomley Link will be dualled. So 20 years have passed.
It is a tribute to the longevity of Hot Rolled Asphalt that the Barthomley Link has needed no major work since it was built.
HS2 was proposed in 2010, so I suppose that makes it quite quick to get to construction stage in 2019 !

For me, transport is the biggest failing of government in the last 30, even 40, years.

RichardEvans67
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by RichardEvans67 » Wed Jun 23, 2021 01:10

by fras » Tue Jun 22, 2021 08:59

Yes, road improvements do take a lot of time.
My 1st job started in 1990, for a firm of engineering consultants, working on road improvement schemes. There were two main jobs in the office at the time. The A27 Lewis to Polegate, and widening the M23.

They spent a few years designing both schemes, and the A27 scheme went as far as public consultations. Then the government pulled the plug, and as a result I ended up made redundant from that Job.

Now about 3 decades later, they used a smart motorway, instead of the M23 widening we were working on. As for the A27 scheme, well now they are planning far cheaper, much less ambitious things instead.

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jackal
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by jackal » Wed Jun 30, 2021 11:05

The scheme was accepted for examination yesterday. It's much as at the 2020 consultation:

- A417 is freeflowing DC throughout
- Climbing lane up to Shab Hill
- NSL and 8% gradient
- Full size folded dumbbell GSJ at Shab Hill
- NSL S2+1 A436 link running from there to a new roundabout immediately NE of Air Balloon
- Compact GSJ at Cowley
- Closure of the old A417 past Birdlip and Cowley Wood Lane

One point introduced in the consultation that I'd missed until now is that Grove Farm/Crickley Hill Tractors gets its own underpass, rather than the silly LILO once proposed.

PINS scheme page: https://infrastructure.planninginspecto ... sing-link/
General arrangement: https://infrastructure.planninginspecto ... (2)(o).pdf

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Bryn666
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by Bryn666 » Wed Jun 30, 2021 11:13

Still not convinced having a lengthy 8% downhill with no escape lane is a wise design choice but whatever, the road is really pushing the envelope for a 120km/h design speed as it is so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Completing this is forms an essential safety improvement as having this outdated single carriageway between two high quality D2s is madness - get it done.
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JammyDodge
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by JammyDodge » Wed Jun 30, 2021 11:30

Bryn666 wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 11:13
Still not convinced having a lengthy 8% downhill with no escape lane is a wise design choice but whatever, the road is really pushing the envelope for a 120km/h design speed as it is so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Completing this is forms an essential safety improvement as having this outdated single carriageway between two high quality D2s is madness - get it done.
I think the reasoning is that from here to the M5, the A417 is basically completely flat over about 2.5 miles, in which a vehicle should be able to slow down enough before reaching the roundabout after the M5
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ChrisH
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by ChrisH » Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:47

It looks very good to me. Can't do much better than that with the landscape they are building in.

In a parallel universe this scheme would trigger an Expressway/Motorway upgrade of the whole route from M4 to M5 - there are only a few property accesses left near Swindon. I think that is off the table though.

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Chris5156
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by Chris5156 » Wed Jun 30, 2021 21:24

Unless I'm misreading the drawings, the design does introduce a rather regrettable crossover of traffic eastbound and westbound on the "Cheltenham Bypass" route between A436 and M5. The folded dumbbell will see those flows cross each other at a roundabout.

That specific traffic flow - running between the A436 to the east and A417 to the west - also appears to have to take a 1.75 mile detour, all the way up the hill and all the way down again, since the only junction serving that road is now at Shab Hill. I wonder whether that extra distance and inconvenience will mean that, for some traffic, the A40 through Cheltenham becomes a more acceptable route to their destination?

All that said, this is minor stuff - yes, get it built.

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SouthWest Philip
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by SouthWest Philip » Wed Jun 30, 2021 21:44

Chris5156 wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 21:24
Unless I'm misreading the drawings, the design does introduce a rather regrettable crossover of traffic eastbound and westbound on the "Cheltenham Bypass" route between A436 and M5. The folded dumbbell will see those flows cross each other at a roundabout.

That specific traffic flow - running between the A436 to the east and A417 to the west - also appears to have to take a 1.75 mile detour, all the way up the hill and all the way down again, since the only junction serving that road is now at Shab Hill. I wonder whether that extra distance and inconvenience will mean that, for some traffic, the A40 through Cheltenham becomes a more acceptable route to their destination?

All that said, this is minor stuff - yes, get it built.
Yes, the lengthy detour for east-west traffic on what is the de facto bypass for Cheltenham isn't great. But I guess still better than the current lengthy queues at rush hour and often other times too.

Hopefully the east-west flows having to cross over will be fairly evenly balanced out by north-south traffic on what might become the best route between Cheltenham and Cirencester/Swindon and, to a lesser extent, parts of Stroud. I would expect the A435 south of the A436 through to Cirencester to become a B-road as a result of this project.

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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by mikehindsonevans » Wed Jun 30, 2021 22:54

Bryn666 wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 11:13
Still not convinced having a lengthy 8% downhill with no escape lane is a wise design choice but whatever, the road is really pushing the envelope for a 120km/h design speed as it is so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.

Completing this is forms an essential safety improvement as having this outdated single carriageway between two high quality D2s is madness - get it done.
Surely, by the time this road opens, every vehicle will be using regenerative braking, won't they? At least on planet electron, I guess! We shall still miss the old Air Balloon.
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RichardEvans67
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by RichardEvans67 » Thu Jul 01, 2021 03:11

by mikehindsonevans » Wed Jun 30, 2021 22:54

Surely, by the time this road opens, every vehicle will be using regenerative braking, won't they? At least on planet electron, I guess! We shall still miss the old Air Balloon.
Well, large vehicles should already be fitted with retarders, which ought to avoid brake fade. Perhaps the issue is whether they could fail. Presumably failure would be rare if they are maintained properly, but you tend to get some rogue operators who cut corners.

As for smaller vehicles. Well if the brakes faded on a manual, you could slow down using the gears. That is if the driver is proficient enough to know how to do that. I'm not sure about Automatic transmissions, but I assume they would be designed with some way to deal with this.

Richard.

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jackal
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by jackal » Thu Jul 01, 2021 06:40

You have to assume a GSJ nearer to Air Balloon wouldn't be practical or environmentally unacceptable. Think how big the cutting would have to be, not to mention the gradient up to the bridge!

The conflicting movements are a bit Stonehaven, though the A436 isn't the A90, and the terrain may have limited them to folded slips - admittedly I am not wholly confident about that.

I did wonder if they could put in an east-facing offslip at Air Balloon, as a shortcut for A417 eastbound-A436 eastbound that would remove the A436 conflict.

At any rate, it's hard to imagine movements would divert to the A40 through Cheltenham, as the detour and conflict at Shab Hill are compensated for by the removal of much worse conflict at Air Balloon, and addition of a lane and 70mph limit once you're on the A417.

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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by roadtester » Thu Jul 01, 2021 08:24

SouthWest Philip wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 21:44
Chris5156 wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 21:24
Unless I'm misreading the drawings, the design does introduce a rather regrettable crossover of traffic eastbound and westbound on the "Cheltenham Bypass" route between A436 and M5. The folded dumbbell will see those flows cross each other at a roundabout.

That specific traffic flow - running between the A436 to the east and A417 to the west - also appears to have to take a 1.75 mile detour, all the way up the hill and all the way down again, since the only junction serving that road is now at Shab Hill. I wonder whether that extra distance and inconvenience will mean that, for some traffic, the A40 through Cheltenham becomes a more acceptable route to their destination?

All that said, this is minor stuff - yes, get it built.
Yes, the lengthy detour for east-west traffic on what is the de facto bypass for Cheltenham isn't great. But I guess still better than the current lengthy queues at rush hour and often other times too.

Hopefully the east-west flows having to cross over will be fairly evenly balanced out by north-south traffic on what might become the best route between Cheltenham and Cirencester/Swindon and, to a lesser extent, parts of Stroud. I would expect the A435 south of the A436 through to Cirencester to become a B-road as a result of this project.
It's disappointing that A436 traffic isn't catered for better but on the other hand, speaking as a former local, I think the A436 is always a bit over-rated as an alternative to taking the A40 through Cheltenham. It's one of those things that looks a lot better on the map than it does down on the ground - that particular section of the A436 is mostly what you'd expect of a B road in terms of width, alignment, general standard and so on. You wouldn't want to funnel too much traffic through there.

TBH I'm incredibly impressed they've managed to come up with a workable solution for the gap at all. For decades of using the road, my assumption - trying to work it out was always a bit of a mental game for me every time I went that way - always was that the gap would never be closed given the two modern sections of A417 weren't even vaguely pointing at each other and the sensitivity of putting something very concretey on the skyline on the crest of the Cotswold escarpment - not to mention the gradients involved.

The tunnel showed there might be a solution, albeit at enormous expense. I think the fact that the current scheme looks pretty decent while avoiding the expense of tunnelling is a pretty staggering achievement.
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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by Herned » Thu Jul 01, 2021 09:01

jackal wrote:
Thu Jul 01, 2021 06:40
I did wonder if they could put in an east-facing offslip at Air Balloon, as a shortcut for A417 eastbound-A436 eastbound that would remove the A436 conflict.
Ignoring the geographical difficulties, I would imagine that would be a potential conflict between faster moving vehicles overtaking slow lorries and cutting in to exit the road

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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by fras » Thu Jul 01, 2021 10:48

roadtester wrote:
Thu Jul 01, 2021 08:24
SouthWest Philip wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 21:44
Chris5156 wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 21:24
Unless I'm misreading the drawings, the design does introduce a rather regrettable crossover of traffic eastbound and westbound on the "Cheltenham Bypass" route between A436 and M5. The folded dumbbell will see those flows cross each other at a roundabout.

That specific traffic flow - running between the A436 to the east and A417 to the west - also appears to have to take a 1.75 mile detour, all the way up the hill and all the way down again, since the only junction serving that road is now at Shab Hill. I wonder whether that extra distance and inconvenience will mean that, for some traffic, the A40 through Cheltenham becomes a more acceptable route to their destination?

All that said, this is minor stuff - yes, get it built.
Yes, the lengthy detour for east-west traffic on what is the de facto bypass for Cheltenham isn't great. But I guess still better than the current lengthy queues at rush hour and often other times too.

Hopefully the east-west flows having to cross over will be fairly evenly balanced out by north-south traffic on what might become the best route between Cheltenham and Cirencester/Swindon and, to a lesser extent, parts of Stroud. I would expect the A435 south of the A436 through to Cirencester to become a B-road as a result of this project.
It's disappointing that A436 traffic isn't catered for better but on the other hand, speaking as a former local, I think the A436 is always a bit over-rated as an alternative to taking the A40 through Cheltenham. It's one of those things that looks a lot better on the map than it does down on the ground - that particular section of the A436 is mostly what you'd expect of a B road in terms of width, alignment, general standard and so on. You wouldn't want to funnel too much traffic through there.

TBH I'm incredibly impressed they've managed to come up with a workable solution for the gap at all. For decades of using the road, my assumption - trying to work it out was always a bit of a mental game for me every time I went that way - always was that the gap would never be closed given the two modern sections of A417 weren't even vaguely pointing at each other and the sensitivity of putting something very concretey on the skyline on the crest of the Cotswold escarpment - not to mention the gradients involved.

The tunnel showed there might be a solution, albeit at enormous expense. I think the fact that the current scheme looks pretty decent while avoiding the expense of tunnelling is a pretty staggering achievement.
Agree !

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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by lotrjw » Thu Jul 01, 2021 22:25

ChrisH wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:47
It looks very good to me. Can't do much better than that with the landscape they are building in.

In a parallel universe this scheme would trigger an Expressway/Motorway upgrade of the whole route from M4 to M5 - there are only a few property accesses left near Swindon. I think that is off the table though.
I suppose if this was the 1960s or early 1970s. Such a shame it would do well as a motorway.

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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by fras » Thu Jul 01, 2021 23:20

lotrjw wrote:
Thu Jul 01, 2021 22:25
ChrisH wrote:
Wed Jun 30, 2021 12:47
It looks very good to me. Can't do much better than that with the landscape they are building in.

In a parallel universe this scheme would trigger an Expressway/Motorway upgrade of the whole route from M4 to M5 - there are only a few property accesses left near Swindon. I think that is off the table though.
I suppose if this was the 1960s or early 1970s. Such a shame it would do well as a motorway.
If it was to be a motorway, there would have to be a parallel road built for non-motorway traffic along several sections. A brief look shows such parallel roads in some places already.

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Re: A417 Missing Link campaign!

Post by gepree68 » Fri Jul 02, 2021 11:46

lotrjw wrote:
Thu Jul 01, 2021 22:25
I suppose if this was the 1960s or early 1970s. Such a shame it would do well as a motorway.
Assuming a 2-digit motorway number, in the 1960s/1970s it would have been M43, M44, M46, M47, M48 or M49.

If it was made a motorway today it would be M41, M43, M44, M46 or M47.

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