Gloucestershire fire chief calls for M5 junction improvements

Motorway bridge There are calls for access to the motorway to be improved

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Calls for junction 10 of the M5 to be turned into a four-way junction have been backed by Gloucestershire's chief fire officer.

John Hall said fire service response times could be improved and lives saved by adding extra slip-roads.

Drivers are currently only able to join the M5 northbound or exit the M5 southbound at the Cheltenham junction.

A year-long closure of the junction for repairs was postponed last year to allow time for the idea to be assessed.

The bridge carries the A4019 - one of the main routes between Cheltenham and Tewkesbury - over the motorway.

'Help save lives'

Mr Hall said: "We have had a number of fatal incidents on the M5 of late. It probably is only a matter of time before we have a severe one just to the south of junction 10.

"I'm sure our appliances will get there as quickly as possible but when there seems to be a solution that can get emergency services on the scene even quicker we're encouraging all parties to really address this seriously and help us saves lives wherever we can."

Last October the Highways Agency said £12m needed to be spent on "urgent repairs" as the bridge was nearing the end of its working life.

The agency announced plans to close a stretch of the A4019 for up to a year while work was carried out, but the plans were postponed in December after the Department for Transport agreed to look at upgrading the junction.

Tewkesbury's Conservative MP, Lawrence Robertson, who has been campaigning for the junction to be improved, said businesses would also benefit from the change.

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