The new Bedale bypass in Yorkshire has been officially opened by Roads Minister Andrew Jones.
The bypass is designed to reduce traffic flow through Bedale, Leeming Bar and Aiskew by half.
Currently, about 14,000 vehicles a day use the existing road, which causes considerable congestion. In addition to cutting traffic through the urban area by half, the bypass will reduce environmental and road safety problems, improve access to the A1(M) for local communities and improve access to Leeming Bar industrial estate.
Mr Jones (pictured) said: "The much-needed bypass will improve the community's lives by cutting traffic, improving air quality and road safety. The tourist industry will also benefit as journey times to the beautiful Yorkshire Dales will be reduced.
"The government is making a record investment in roads, such as the Bedale bypass, speeding up people's journeys and boosting the economy."
The bypass is about three miles long, running from Northallerton Road, on the eastern outskirts of Leeming Bar, to a new junction on the A684 near Bedale Golf Club. It crosses the A1(M) at approximately its midpoint, where it connects with the junction created as part of Highways England’s A1 Dishforth to Barton upgrade.
Work began in February last year and has been finished about two months ahead of the anticipated completion in autumn this year.
The project, which was budgeted at about £34.5m is expected to come in under budget. The Department for Transport has provided £29m, with North Yorkshire County Council funding the rest from its capital programme. The contractor on the scheme was Wills Bros Ltd.