MORE THAN 10 years in the making, the new relief road has opened in Arborfield.
Observer Way, which connects the A327 Reading Road to the A327 Eversley Road, was opened by the borough mayor.
However supply chain issues mean that final landscaping works will take place over the next couple of months and may result in some traffic management work.
The new 2.3km road will direct traffic away from the village, which the council hopes will reduce congestion in Arborfield, Arborfield Cross and the surrounding rural lanes.
The council’s 2010 local plan included a relief road to support nearby housing developments. Four potential routes were considered, and Option B, favoured by 70% of residents was chosen.
Cllr Wayne Smith, executive member for planning and enforcement said: “The opening of this road is an incredible milestone for the borough. This road has been more than 10 years in the planning and building, and has been a success for the council and residents all the way along.
“This is very much a case of you said, we listened. When we consulted in 2013 on four options, with a clear preference from us for technical reasons, residents strongly came back and told us that wasn’t what they wanted. We listened and the road we have today reflects that.”
Chairman of Arborfield & Newland Parish Council, Mark Picken said: “We are pleased to see the relief road opening as scheduled. We have been very much included from the beginning and are pleased to have worked with all involved, especially regarding the naming of the road and bridge and honouring those who served in the Royal Observer Corps (ROC). Arborfield has changed dramatically over the past few years and the relief road is a real bonus for the village.”
Alison Webster, chief executive of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP said the scheme is the largest Local Growth Fund project that the LEP has delivered for Berkshire.
The road has a shared bicycle lane and path, a wildlife-friendly green bridge for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wildlife to cross, and a memorial stone honouring members of the Arborfield Royal Observer Corps.
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways said: “The road opening is such an achievement and I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone involved in making this happen. This project finished on budget and on schedule, despite having the major disruption of a global pandemic halfway through.
“It has been a long journey from the abstract early strategic plans, collaboration with our residents, to the construction of the road, pathways and the green bridge over the last year.
“There has been a lot of change in the borough over recent years, through development of new communities and we are committed to ensuring the infrastructure we need is built at the right time and in the right places.”