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The main carriageway of the Weymouth Relief Road finally opened on Thursday March 17th 2011 - more than 60 years after the route was first proposed.
The barriers were removed just before 2pm and traffic officers from Dorset Police led drivers onto the new 4.5 mile road between the Ridgeway and Manor Roundabout, which will carry around 35,000 vehicles a day.
It will help ease the traffic queues between Weymouth and Portland, which are hosting the 2012 sailing events.
Leader of Dorset County Council Angus Campbell said:
“This is a historic moment that residents of Weymouth and Portland have been waiting for since 1948, when a relief road was first proposed in the Local Plan.
“The Weymouth Relief Road will help support the economic development of the borough through delivering reliable journey times on the strategic A354, used by over 35,000 cars and lorries every day.
“To achieve this and to produce such a visually pleasing and environmentally sensitive example of modern road building is a triumph and a great credit to all concerned.”
Broadwey division county councillor Andy Cooke said:
“The Weymouth Relief Road has had overwhelming local support and its opening is something to really celebrate.”
Linden Lea division county councillor David Crowhurst said:
“With the main carriageway open, residents in the villages of Herringston, Winterborne Herringston and Winterborn Monkton can look forward to a reduction in the number of cars using unsuitable village roads.”
Motorists are being urged to drive with extra care and attention while they get used to the new road layout.
The new Littlemoor Road will open in around three weeks time.
For the next four months work will continue to complete the Bincombe junction, the park and ride facility and the remaining sections of footpath and cycleway. There will also be times during off-peak travel when temporary traffic signals are required on the main carriageway in order to finish fencing works.
The Weymouth Relief Road is a Dorset County Council scheme funded by the Department for Transport and constructed by Skanska Civil Engineering UK.