Thousands of jobs will be created and thousands of homes built thanks to the opening of the long-awaited £33m relief road in Wakefield.
That is the view of Wakefield Council leader, Coun Peter Box, who cut the ribbon this afternoon and was the first to drive the new 5.5km bypass around the city.
The new highway provides a road link between the A642 and A638, helping to divert traffic away from the city centre.
It runs from Doncaster Road at Agbrigg through the City Fields development and to the roundabout close to Pinderfields Hospital, and also onto Aberford Road and Ferry Lane in Stanley.
Known as WERR (Wakefield Eastern Relief Road), it is the first project for the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s 10-year programme to deliver mass employment.
Coun Peter Box said: “This has huge potential, not just for housing but for business as well - eventually we will see thousands of new jobs.
“It is one of the biggest and most ambitious projects that this district has seen for decades and is a huge achievement.
“All in all, it’s great news for Wakefield, and the best news of all is that it did not cost us anything with the money coming from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
“There’s been a lot of disruption while building this but when people realise what it will do, they will realise it’s all been worthwhile.
“There’s no doubt it will lead to fewer people driving through the city centre.”
The idea for the new road was first mooted in 2009 and was included in the local development framework in 2012.
A year later, approval was given and detailed designs were drawn up before work began in April 2015.
It involved building a single-span bridge across the River Calder - the first of its kind in the city for over 100 years.
At Christmas the project team achieved one of the road’s biggest challenges, with the installation of a 1,200 tonne traffic bridge underneath the railway lines serving Wakefield Kirkgate Station, near to the Eastmoor estate.
The 56-hour round-the-clock operation was a major feat of engineering and helped to keep the project on track.
Coun Eric Forth, deputy transport chairman of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s praised the project.
He said: “Delivering improved strategic transport links that generate economic growth across West Yorkshire and the City Region are among the Combined Authority’s stated aims.
“I’m glad that through our £1bn transport fund we have been able to work with Wakefield Council to develop this road.”