Election 2015 England

Gloucestershire A417 upgrade 'absolutely critical'

The A417 near Birdlip, Gloucestershire Image copyright Google
Image caption The Department for Transport has said the scheme was a long way from implementation

Construction of the A417 "missing link" near Gloucester will not be complete in five years, an election candidate says.

Conservative Richard Graham said the need for improvement was "absolutely critical" and it was "a great shame" it had not been done previously.

The government set aside about £255m to fund the work, but said in December it was a long way from implementation.

Four election candidates, speaking on a BBC Radio Gloucestershire debate, all agreed to ensure the work begins.

'Differences of opinion'

The route connects the M4 near Swindon to the M5 near Gloucester and is used by up to 34,000 vehicles daily.

It has previously been dubbed a "road to hell" by a local councillor due to air pollution, "terrible accident rates" and "dreadful congestion".

Jeremy Hilton, for the Liberal Democrats, said it was a priority for him but although there was general agreement over the need, he could foresee "differences of opinion" when it comes to the road layout being designed.

Labour's Sophy Gardner also said the shadow transport secretary had confirmed a Labour government would continue with the plan, and Richard Ford, for UKIP, said transport was "extremely important, and particularly for Gloucester".

Three other candidates were not part of the BBC Radio Gloucestershire debate: Jonathan Ingleby for the Green Party, TUSC candidate Sue Powell, and George Ridgeon for the Monster Raving Loony Party.

The candidates for the constituency are:

Richard Ford, UKIP

Sophy Gardner, Labour

Richard Graham, Conservative

Jeremy Hilton, Liberal Democrat

Jonathan Ingleby, Green

Sue Powell, TUSC

George Ridgeon, Monster Raving Loony Party

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