GOVERNMENT ministers have assured residents that a preferred route for the A417 'missing link' upgrade will be announced early next year.

After a recent consultation on the two surface options, with Option 30 appearing to be the most viable route, the scheme needs to secure funding from the new Road Investment Strategy 2 (RIS2) in 2020.

Option 30 is a 3.4 mile route which follows the alignment of the existing A417 at Crickley Hill with less of a slope. A new section of road would be built through Shab Hill to the east of the existing route, re-joining near Cowley roundabout which would be removed along with the air balloon.

Around 34,000 vehicles travel on the road every day, with a number of fatal crashes in recent years.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP for the Cotswolds pressed the Department for Transport in the House of Commons to commit to funding the A417 ‘missing link’ upgrade.

In his question to the Roads Minister, Jesse Norman MP, in the House of Commons, Sir Geoffrey argued that the A417 upgrade must proceed quickly in order to avoid excessive congestion and fatalities.

The minister reassured Sir Geoffrey that a preferred route will be announced in early 2019 and added that the Government has given this scheme strong commitment.

Sir Geoffrey said: “I am pleased that the Government is publicly committed to progressing this much-needed road scheme in the Cotswolds. 34,000 vehicles travel on this strategically important road every day and sadly we have just recently witnessed another tragic fatality on this stretch of road.

"It is now incumbent on the Government to get on with this upgrade and announce the preferred route next year.”

Sir Geoffrey will continue to press the Secretary of State for Transport for a decision on his preferred option so that the DCO process which will include planning, design and tendering can begin.

It is hoped construction could start in 2020.

The road is known as the missing link because there is no dual carriageway on a 5km stretch of the road.