THE latest section of a new road which will eventually create a by-pass around the western edge of Northampton has been officially opened.
Northamptonshire County Council’s member for transport Heather Smith cut the ribbon on the bridge above the £7.3 million Sandy Lane Improvement North yesterday, as various people involved in the project were taken on a bus trip along the new section of road.
The 1.8km stretch between the A428 Harlestone Road and Berrywood Road runs to the west of the existing Sandy Lane and has been designed to steer lorries and cars away from Sandy Lane and nearby communities, as they travel from the M1 motorway to the Lodge Farm industrial estate.
It was opened to the public in its entirety last Friday.
Simon Levell, the county council’s project manager, said: “It is the combination of a lot of hard work and overcoming a lot of problems along the way. It has taken us five years to get here but we have got here in the end. It is a relief to have finished and we are now looking forward to other projects around the corner.”
The scheme has included the construction of two roundabouts, one at the northern end on the A428 and double mini-roundabout at the southern end.
Other features include a bridge carrying Port Road over the new road and a 2km cycle way partly utilising the old Sandy Lane.
However, it is not yet certain when the next stretch of work, which will bring relief to villages such as Harpole, will be completed.
Councillor Heather Smith, county council cabinet member for highways, minerals and waste, said: “The next stage will be funded by the developers. It is a pressing time for the economy but we are optimistic we will see something happening over the next couple of years.
“When the developers decide it is time to start to building, the road will have to come first. This road will play an important part in supporting future growth and development in Northampton and is essential in alleviating some existing traffic pressure.
“This latest stretch shows just what can be done when people work together.”
The road has come about after Northamptonshire County Council, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and the WNDC combined their resources.