Air Balloon changes could ramp up fuel costs for some commuters
CONTROVERSIAL changes to the Air Balloon Roundabout will cost motorists hundreds of pounds in fuel bills.
That's the view of people who face a daily drive through the A417 junction, which is subject to proposed changes by the Highways Agency.
The scheme, which is set to be trialled this summer, will see a no-right turn rule introduced for vehicles travelling along the route from Cirencester.
Tracey Burgoyne, who works as the training manager at the New Brewery Arts in Cirencester, commutes every day from her home off Old Bath Road.
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The changes will add an extra three miles to her route every day – costing her an additional £291 to her fuel costs every year, calculating on the current nation average petrol price of 132.9p per litre.
Tracey said: "The whole idea is just ludicrous. When I first heard about it, I thought it was a mistake. This will not cut accidents and it will certainly not cut anybody's fuel bills.
"All it will do is send people up the A435 instead – and the whole point of this road was originally to stop the congestion along there. I would have thought there must be a simpler solution such as traffic lights."
Jane Saunders, who lives in Cheltenham, travels to her Cirencester fashion business Monday Boutique every day.
She fears extra congestion would make the journey far slower from her home in Shurdington Road.
She said: "It would be bedlam because everyone would be coming into Cheltenham from that direction.
"It is already a very busy road as things are. I dread to think what it would be like if that was the main route for people coming from Cirencester."
She added "rat runs" through villages, such as Elkstone, would be used more heavily.
"You would end up with people are going down the hill from the Air Balloon roundabout then all the way back up again just to take the turning to Leckhampton, which is ludicrous," she said.
Matt Grove, 32, who makes regular journeys between Cheltenham and the Cotswolds, added: "If you've got to go all the way through Shurdington, it will make journeys longer and for people travelling that way regularly, costs will mount."
The Highways Agency had intended to start the trial this summer, getting feedback from residents in June.