PLANS suggested two decades ago for a new A40 route to ease congestion have been knocked back by a canals chief.
Maisemore farmer Jeremy Chamberlayne has called for highways officials to revisit plans for a new road between Longford and the M50 at Gorsley, the commercial and technical director of Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Trust said it won’t work.
David Penny explained how the proposed route, which would have used part of the old canal, could not do so now.
“It was going to be part of a trans-national road across Europe,” said Mr Penny, who said the dual carriageway would have helped link Gloucestershire and Wales with the rest of Europe.
“I think the idea of bringing back this proposal is a red herring. The primary issue is the [Longford] roundabout – I don’t see a lot of restriction on the single carriageway,” said Mr Penny, whose trust aims to restore the canal.
“I would say a road is needed across from Highnam to Quedgeley. A new road for all traffic from the Forest and Newent direction, going to the south west bypass and the M5 is what is needed.
“I totally agree with Mr Chamberlayne that something needs to be done – but not this proposal.
“It would devastate the Leadon Vale area and go over the canal which is protected by planning policy. The route was part of a plan which doesn’t exist now.”
The idea behind the transnational road was to have a continuous dual carriageway crossing mainland Europe and the UK, he said – but it was ditched at EU level.
Mr Chamberlayne argued the A40 route should be brought back to the table because of horrendous traffic problems on the A48, A40 and A417 around Over, north of Gloucester.
The proposal was for a road from the A40 Longford roundabout which would have run across both channels of the River Severn, taking in a junction south of Maisemore on the A417 before heading up towards Newent through the Leadon Vale and Gorsley to junction three of the M50.
But it came to nothing in the mid 1990s, to the relief of many residents in the Leadon Vale, Newent and Gorsley.
Gloucestershire County Council is calling on the Highways Agency to fund a new loop of the A417 around Nettleton Bottom on its list of major schemes, but Mr Chamberlayne wants the old proposal to come forward too.
The county council has said it will consider all ideas to improve traffic flow but the A417 project is its priority.
“I think it could solve a lot of problems and be good for business in Gloucester and Newent,” he said. “It’s worth looking at again.”