PLANS to improve the A417 near Birdlip have been welcomed by a Swindon MP.

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon, said the improvement proposals would help tackle a notorious bottleneck for commercial traffic using the busy route to get from Wiltshire to the Midlands.

Highways England has announced its preferred option for the road, turning a 3.4 mile stretch of the A417 into dual carriageway. The Air Balloon roundabout will be removed as part of the plans.

The project is expected to cost £500m, according to reports.

Robert Buckland MP said: “I am delighted that the Government has produced a plan to remove the bottleneck on the A417 that affects the flow of commercial traffic between Swindon and the Midlands.

"A fully-dualled link between Junction 15 and the M5 will make Swindon better connected with the Midlands than ever before and will make us an even more attractive investment location.”