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


It's difficult to get the full scale of the huge A417 Missing Link road building project from the ground. Even though driving around the Air Balloon roundabout area in Birdlip shows the impact on the landscape, the full picture cannot be seen.

Thankfully, drone operator Gerry Watkins has been kind enough to share his six-minute video taken high above the ongoing roadworks, which will transform road travel in Gloucestershire. By spring 2027, a new 3.4m dual-carriageway should be fully open to traffic - removing that tight hair-pin bend near Birdlip and that congestion-hit single-carriageway stretch.

The Air Balloon pub is now long gone and a new temporary mini-roundabout is in place at the junction of the A436 and Leckhampton Hill. Drivers are also getting used to diversions and delays due to overnight and weekend closures.

READ MORE: A417 Missing Link project unearths treasures dating back 12,000 years

READ MORE: Fascinating pictures show Crickley Hill roadworks near Air Balloon pub in late 1960s

In the video, which you can see at the top of this article and which was taken on Saturday (May 25), you will see the extent of the work at the Cowley end of the project. While at the Air Balloon end, it's clear to see where the pub used to be and the impact on the surrounding countryside in the Birdlip Viewpoint and across the road from Crickley Hill.

What's clear in the video, and which won't be seen from the ground, is the scale of the roadwork temporary office complex with what looks to be lots of room for car parking. Looking around in the video, the breath-taking beauty of the Cotswolds area is clear to see.

National Highways’ A417 Missing Link scheme includes

  • 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.