Huge A417 change imminent as three-year contraflow to go live within days - how it will work

The existing Cowley roundabout on the A417 at Nettleton Bottom
-Credit: (Image: Gerry Watkins)

A full weekend closure of a major stretch of the A417 in Gloucestershire will herald a big change on a key roundabout junction. A contraflow system is going to be put in place around the Cowley roundabout in Nettleton Bottom that will last until spring 2027.

Overnight into this morning (Friday, June 28) the A417 was shut from the A419 Burford Road junction near Cirencester to the Air Balloon roundabout near Birdlip. A full weekend closure will then begin tonight at 9pm until Monday (July 1) at 6am so the contraflow system can be installed.

A diversion for northbound traffic will be in place via the A436, A40 and A419. Southbound traffic will need to follow the same route in reverse - access for residents and emergency vehicles will be in place.

READ MORE: FlyUp 417 bike park to temporarily close as Missing Link Project enters next phase

READ MORE: Latest A417 drone footage shows dramatic scale of huge road building project

The A417 contraflow system at Cowley roundabout
The A417 contraflow system at Cowley roundabout -Credit:National Highways

Then, from Monday (July 1) there will be a contraflow system in place on the A417 at Cowley Roundabout. This is so National Highways can start to prepare to build Cowley junction, where the new section of the A417 will tie into the existing carriageway.

The road will look different, with traffic reduced to a single lane in both directions, and a temporary mandatory speed limit of 40mph. Cowley Roundabout will no longer be in use and traffic travelling south will not be able to exit towards Brimpsfield at this location.

The contraflow will remain in place until summer 2026 when the contraflow will then move to the southbound carriageway, allowing National Highways towork safely on the northbound carriageway to connect the new and existing roads. This will be in place until completion of scheme in Spring 2027.

How it will work

The new contraflow that starts on Monday
The new contraflow that starts on Monday, July 1 -Credit:National Highways

Vehicles travelling south on the A417 will continue in a single lane instead of travelling round Cowley Roundabout. Just before the old roundabout, traffic will move to the northbound side of the A417 carriageway as part of a contraflow system.

After around 700m, traffic will move back to the southbound carriageway and continue along the A417 in two lanes as usual. There will be no exit towards Brimpsfield for southbound traffic at this location.

Drivers will need to continue to the next junction, exit at The Highwayman Inn and rejoin the northbound carriageway to exit left towards Brimpsfield. Free recovery will be available within the traffic management system.

What is the A417 Missing Link project

  • 3.4 miles of new dual carriageway connecting the existing A417 Brockworth bypass with the existing A417 dual carriageway south of Cowley - providing a full dual-carriageway route from the M5 at Brockworth to the M4 at Swindon.

  • the section to the west of the existing Air Balloon roundabout would follow the existing A417 corridor. However, the section to the south and east of the Air Balloon roundabout would be offline, away from the existing road corridor;

  • a new junction at Shab Hill, providing a link from the A417 to the A436 towards Oxford and into Birdlip;

  • a new junction near Cowley, replacing the existing Cowley roundabout;

  • the existing A417 between the Air Balloon roundabout and the Cowley roundabout would be repurposed, converting some lengths of this existing road into a route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, while retaining other sections to maintain local access for residents.