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30 June 2011, 09:18
A new road which will cut congestion in Portsmouth city centre has been officially opened by Princess Anne.
Princess Royal Way, built by Portsmouth City Council, is a direct route for traffic heading for the Naval Base via the M275.
Instead of southbound vehicles having to enter the city centre and then double-back to the base, they can make a direct right turn to their destination. Up to 4,000 vehicles per day have been removed from the city centre by the new link, cutting traffic jams and air pollution.
Some freight traffic using Portsmouth International Port can also use the route.
The Princess was received by Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, who presented her to Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Cheryl Buggy, Portsmouth City Council chief executive David Williams and Naval Base Commander Commodore Rob Thompson.
A wall alongside the road has been decorated with a mural by local artists, showing 10 naval ships through history, starting with the Mary Rose and ending with one of the new aircraft carriers now being built. The road will also feature artwork from pupils of nearby Flying Bull Primary School, who attended the opening ceremony and met the Princess Royal.
The council's Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, Cllr Jason Fazackarley, said: "This road has been a real success story since it started operating this spring. There's been a real difference in the amount of traffic on Commercial Road, Marketway and Mile End roundabout.
It's one of the projects contributing to the buzz about Portsmouth and its economy at the moment. It will boost business at the dockyard by providing a more direct motorway link."
Cdre Thompson said: "The new link road is proving a big hit with the many thousands of employees at the base and our many visitors too. It is providing greatly improved access in and out of the base and is cutting congestion in the city centre. And as we look to the future, the road will help the base in its role as home to the majority of the surface fleet, including the new aircraft carriers."
The new road has also won praise from other employers in the Naval Base. Iain Chalmers, director of marine services at Serco Marine, said: "It has improved access in and out of the base and has clearly had a positive effect on the city's traffic."
The council put about £1.8m into the £8m scheme, with the Department for Transport, the Ministry of Defence and the European Union contributing the rest.