Devon County Council and Torbay Council, along with Galliford Try, have announced that the South Devon Highway is now open to traffic.
The new 5.5km dual carriageway opened to traffic in the early hours of Tuesday morning (15/12/15) in a phased process. Early on Monday evening a temporary closure of Hamelin Way, Torquay took place which enabled the removal of the roundabout at Kerswell Gardens and a final section of white lining painted on the intersections.
Following this phase, project staff, the traffic management team and members of Devon and Cornwall Police travelled at a slow speed along the route, removing cones and barriers. Public vehicles were able to follow immediately afterwards, using the much anticipated South Devon Highway.
The process began at midnight and carried on until the early hours of this morning. The thorough operation ensured that every element of the new road was operational and safe before motorists were allowed to drive freely on the road.
There will be some further work required to finish off the project, including landscaping and surfacing of local roads surrounding the new highway, which will continue into 2016. This may require side road closures or traffic lights for periods of time, but the public will be notified.
A formal opening ceremony is planned when the project is complete.
Councillor John Hart, Leader of Devon County Council said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been leader of Devon County Council from the beginning to the end of this long-awaited major road project.
"The people of Kingskerswell have waited for far too long for relief from the traffic congestion that has blighted their lives.
"Now thanks to the close cooperation and partnership between Devon County Council, Torbay Council and the Government - with additional support from Teignbridge District Council - the dream has become a reality
"Just as importantly, the new road will improve access to South Devon and Torbay and bring lasting economic benefits.
"So we now have a superb stretch of highway that will bring major economic benefits and thousands of jobs to South Devon as well as removing the traffic bottleneck that has been growing there year on year."
Gordon Oliver, Elected Mayor of Torbay, said: “It has been a pleasure to be involved in such a monumental project which will bring significant benefits to the people of Torbay including the expected creation of around 3,500 local jobs.
“Access will flow so much easier, making Torbay a great place to work and visit. This combined with a new Local Plan, Economic Strategy and masterplans, will revitalise the town centres, and put Torbay on the map as one of the UK’s premier destinations.
“The project has been a great success due to the strong partnership working between ourselves and Devon County Council. I would like to extend my thanks to Teignbridge Council for their support and the contractors Galliford Try for their commitment throughout the project. I would also like to thank the community for their patience throughout the construction process.”
Chris Hastings, Project Director at Galliford Try, said: “The South Devon Highway has been particularly challenging in engineering terms given its size and the proximity to traffic, a railway line, residents and local businesses.
“From the start, it’s been the biggest highways project in the South West and we are proud that we have been a part of it. I hope it helps the area to fulfil its undoubted potential.”
Councillor Jeremy Christophers, Teignbridge District Council Leader, said: “I am delighted that the patience of the people of South Devon will be rewarded with a road of outstanding quality, a road that connects people and commerce to a brighter future.
“A further benefit has been that during the construction process many local jobs have been created. Having personally travelled the length of the new carriageway, I am confident that everyone will be impressed.”
Construction began on the 5.5km dual carriageway in autumn 2012, after being granted full approval by government in May of the same year.
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