Construction of the long-awaited “missing link” of the A21 between Tonbridge and Pembury has been completed and the road was formally opened by MP Tom Tugendhat.
Among the other VIPs present was KCC Chairman David Brazier who described it as a “momentous occasion”.
“Drivers who use this road on a regular basis will be delighted that this long-awaited project has come to fruition,” he said.
The opening ceremony featured Mr Tugendhat cutting a ribbon on the pathway beside the road, watched by Mr Brazier, representatives of Tonbridge & Malling and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils, along with officers of Highways England which funded the scheme and the team from the contractors Balfour Beatty.
Four miles of single carriageway have been upgraded to dual carriageway, and a broad pathway for pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders (pictured bottom, right) has also been provided.
There is now a safe, traffic-free route from Tonbridge station to Pembury Hospital.
The new road, which is expected to carry 35,000 vehicles per day, will help relieve congestion, improve safety for all road users and improve journey times.
Efforts have been made to minimise environmental damage; although 22 acres of ancient woodland has been lost, 66 acres of new woodland will be provided in mitigation, much using transplanted coppice stools.
Nets have been installed to sustain the bat population of the area and dormice, badgers, great crested newts and breeding birds have been protected.
Work began in April 2015 and after delays caused by the discovery of pits filled with 35,000 tonnes of asbestos in the line of the road, the £69.7million scheme was completed this month.