Ambitious plans to Fill the Missing Link and fix one of the most notorious stretches of road in the entire south west have received the backing of more than 7,000 businesses.
The Gloucestershire Echo, The Citizen and Gloucestershire County Council are leading calls for people to get behind a scheme which will finally open up the problem-hit stretch of single carriageway on the A417 between the Cowley roundabout and Brockworth.
And on Monday evening the Gloucestershire and West of England Region of the Federation of Small Businesses voted unanimously in favour of pledging its support to the bid.
The organisation represents 7,200 businesses across eight local branches of the FSB in Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham, Cotswold, Forest of Dean, Gloucester, South Gloucestershire and Tewkesbury.
Mark Owen, its chair and the managing director of Gloucestershire-based Moose Marketing and PR, said: “We invited Mark Hawthorne, the leader of Gloucestershire County Council, to our meeting for the first time and he gave a presentation on the plans for the A417 followed by a question and answer session.
“Afterwards we took a vote and it was unanimously agreed that we would back the scheme.”
Mr Owen said every one of the eight branches believes in the plans because the problems created by the infamous stretch of road are felt by all.
He said: “This scheme is hugely important to the economy of the south west. It is vitally important that we have the infrastructure that we need.
“The cost to business of being held up on that road is enormous, let alone the loss of life which is terrible.”
The region’s FSB will now urge its members to sign up to the campaign while each branch will write a letter of support for the scheme, emphasising the business case for each area.
Leaders at Gloucestershire County Council want to secure £250 million in Government funding to build the A417 Loop, a dual carriageway bypass which would replace the accident blackspot and notorious traffic bottleneck.
You can find out more about the campaign by visiting www.a417missinglink.co.uk.