THE first stretch of the new £80.3 million Peterborough to Spalding bypass – from Spalding to Crowland – will open to drivers on Sunday.
Transport officials announced on Wednesday (4 August) that an 11-mile stretch of the road will be opened to traffic, provided the weather stays dry until the weekend,
However, safety fears will delay the remaining stretch connecting it to Peterborough, as more work is required to stabilise embankments supporting the £3 million, 75m-long Car Dyke Bridge.
The new road will be named the A16 and the existing A16, from Spalding to Stamford, will be renamed the A1175.
The new A16 is a landmark project for partners Lincolnshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, as it is the longest road to open in the UK this year.
The 15-mile road also serves as a replacement for the notorious A1073 between Spalding and Eye, which has proved a blackspot for road accidents and fatalities over the years.
On the stretch between Spalding and the Cambridgeshire border, there were 125 accidents between 2002 and 2007, including six fatalities.
And, on the four-mile stretch between Eye and the border, there have been 54 people injured and two killed in the five years up to May 2010.
The new road will offer HGVs and commuters who travel to Peterborough a safer alternative to the narrow and twisting route on the A1073.
Cllr William Webb, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Utilising this initial section of road will allow some of the local communities to start benefiting from improved safety and relief from congestion in advance of the whole road opening.
“We look forward to the new road being fully opened in due course, allowing for the region to benefit from the important strategic link to the East of England.”
The road will link to Peterborough routes at a roundabout on the A47, near to the A15 Paston Parkway.
Until this part of the route opens, motorists will be diverted onto the existing A1073 between Crowland and Eye Green.
It is not clear when the Crowland to Peterborough section of road will be opened, as geophysical experts need to conduct tests at Car Dyke.
Cllr Gavin Elsey, Peterborough city council’s business engagement cabinet member, said the road will be a boost to the city’s transport links.
He said: “Anything which enables people to come to the city from outside for business or recreational purposes can only be a good thing for the local economy.”