A long-awaited vital part of a £400m regeneration scheme has been formally opened.
Work on the 1.2km Rushenden Relief Road was started in June 2009 by contractors from Birse Civil Engineering.
It had been due to open in August this year but was delayed as they had to wait for the soil to settle.
The road is named Thomsett Way in memory of long-serving county councillor Gerry Thomsett, who died in 2004. His sister Maureen Smither cut the ribbon to officially open the road at a ceremony on Thursday.
It runs from the A249 Neats Court roundabout to Rushenden Road and is aimed at regenerating and revitalising the area by encouraging investment, business growth and more jobs.
It was funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), South East Development Agency – which closed earlier this year – and Kent County Council.
Thomsett Way is seen as the key piece of infrastructure to support the regeneration of Queenborough and Rushenden and opens up land for 2,000 new homes.
The road includes a footway and cycleway, three roundabouts to provide access to future development sites, such as the £25m Morrisons plan, and a railway bridge.
HCA’s senior development executive Nick Young said: “From the outset the key to the success for the Queenborough and Rushenden Regeneration project has been the delivery of this new road and it is something that the local community has campaigned a long time for.
“It removes what is undoubtedly the biggest barrier to the commencement of the new development itself and, as the HCA remains a major land owner in the area, we believe the opening will provide a much needed boost to the prospects for this key regeneration project, as well as providing immediate local benefit by reducing traffic through the existing road network.”
Mrs Smither added: “I am really pleased on behalf of his family that the road has been named after Gerry and reflects the commitment he gave to serving the area. We were all so proud of him.”