SLIDESHOW: Would you believe it? Great Dunmow's bypass is finally opened after more than two decades
PUBLISHED: 14:54 14 March 2014 | UPDATED: 14:54 14 March 2014
For more than two decades it was dubbed "the road to nowhere". Now Great Dunmow's long-awaited bypass has finally been opened.
Three classic Rolls Royces became the first vehicles to cruise down the 2km stretch of road – Woodside Way – at noon today (Friday, March 14).
A vintage Silver Ghost (1908) driven by Paul Wood of P&A Wood transported a Cllr Kay Twitchen, chairman of Essex County Council, Cllr Rodney L Bass, ECC’s cabinet member for highways and transportation, and Cllr Eric Hicks, chairman of Uttlesford District Council.
It followed a short opening ceremony, which was attended by a host of other dignitaries including Dunmow’s mayor Phil Milne, marking the adoption of the bypass into Essex Highways’ network of publically maintained roads.
The two other Rolls Royces were a Ghost EWB (2014), and a Wraith Sapphire (2014).
All three were supplied for the occasion by renowned Rolls Royce and Bentley heritage dealers and Great Easton business P&A Wood.
Funded and developed by Wickford Development, designed by DJ Barton Associates, and constructed by contractor EJ Taylor & Sons, the £8m bypass links the B184 from Saffron Walden and Thaxted to the B1256 to the west of Great Dunmow allowing traffic to bypass the town centre.
Once the ceremony of adoption was completed and photographs of the maiden trip taken, the road was cleared ready for it to open to the public at 1.30pm.
Cllr Bass said: “This bypass is a welcome development for motorists and the people of Dunmow alike – and a high quality addition to the Essex Highways network.”
Cllr Susan Barker, Essex councillor for Great Dunmow and Uttlesford District Council member, said: “As a resident, I am delighted that the long awaited bypass has been opened today after years of frustrating delays.
“It will help to reduce traffic flow through the historic town centre, reduce noise and disturbance and improving the air quality for those living in, working in or just visiting the town.”
The bypass has certainly been a long time in the making.
When permission was given for developers to build on Woodlands Park in 1991, it was agreed that Wickford Development Company would start on the bypass once the 651st home was occupied. Progress was slow and it was looking unlikely to happen until a breakthrough in July 2012 when the planning committee approved plans by Bovis Homes to build a further 125 homes on the site, which triggered a new agreement for the bypass to be built.
Work to complete it began last April. It was scheduled to take 10 months but further “remedial works” were needed meaning its opening was delayed.