M5 Junction 10 improvements news due "soon" for Gloucestershire
HOPES have been raised for a breakthrough in the stalemate over junction 10 of the M5.
Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson, who is in favour of making the junction four-way, has secured a November 7 meeting in London.
He will meet transport minister Stephen Hammond, who replaced Mike Penning in September.
Businesses close to the junction, near Cheltenham, believe enabling traffic to join the motorway going south, as well as north, could increase trade and prevent many unnecessary journeys through Cheltenham.
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The bid, backed by the Echo, was prompted a year ago by plans to replace the junction's 40-year-old motorway bridge – causing a year's disruption in the area.
Although the Highways Agency put that £12 million scheme on hold late last year, following an outcry from the community, there has been no news since on whether the bridge work and the upgrade will go ahead.
Mr Robertson said: "The previous minister commissioned various reports and we have had to wait for those.
"That wait and the change of minister has resulted in this being delayed.
"There are two issues – the replacement of the bridge and the time it takes, and the proposal to have a four-way junction."
He said he did not know what the outcome of his meeting with the minister would be but he would do his best to limit the time that the bridge work would take and get the Government to support the upgrade.
Campaigners have called for the bridge replacement to take place at the same time as the upgrade to reduce costs and prevent the area being disrupted by two separate major engineering projects.
It is thought the Highways Agency may make an announcement about the matter next month. Spokeswoman Rachel Whitelock said: "We're hoping to have some news very soon."
Last year, 1,573 people signed an online petition backing the upgrade.
Cheltenham borough council leader Steve Jordan said: "We were concerned about the year long closure that was originally proposed due to the disruption this could cause.
"We have worked with partners to lobby government to minimise the time any work would take but also to use the opportunity to improve the junction."