MOTORISTS will get a sneak preview of the new Bexhill to Hastings Link Road – months ahead of its official opening.
A 0.6 mile section of the new route, due for completion in May next year, will be opened to traffic after the morning rush hour on Monday, September 29 2014.
The opening of the road between the junction of the A259 Belle Hill and A269 London Road and Ninfield Road Bridge is timed to coincide with work beginning on demolishing the bridge.
Bob Pape, East Sussex County Council’s Link Road project manager, said: “This is a very significant milestone in the development of the scheme and we are delighted that residents and other motorists will be able to benefit immediately from the work before the new road is fully open.
“I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard on the project to make this happen.”
Once the section of road opens, work will begin on demolishing Ninfield Road Bridge, which is too low and narrow to allow traffic on the new road to pass underneath it, and replacing it with a new crossing.
The replacement will be a single span, simply supported bridge, made from a steel and concrete composite construction in keeping with the existing brickwork retaining walls.
The 3.5 mile single-carriageway Link Road will connect the outskirts of Bexhill and Hastings.
Starting at the A259 in Bexhill it runs along the line of the disused Bexhill to Crowhurst railway line, crosses Crowhurst Road and the Hastings to London railway line before joining Queensway at the Hastings end of the route.
The Link Road is expected to provide a major economic boost to the area, bringing in around £1 billion of investment, with the creation of 2,000 new homes and 3,000 new jobs.
It will also see the development of 42 acres of land in north east Bexhill including a 50,000 sq m business park.
Business leaders have already given their backing to the new link, including Graham Marley, chief executive of the Let’s Do Business Group.
He said: “The transport improvements are going to make it a lot easier to travel between Bexhill and Hastings – that’s got to be good for business. Most importantly, it will make new commercial space in north Bexhill and that’s going to create jobs.”
Philip Johnson, project director for Locate East Sussex, said: “The Link Road is going to open up a huge area for development and what we are particularly excited about is the range and quality of buildings that will be constructed as a result of this commercial land being opened for development.”
A survey of residents before work began on the project showed 84 per cent of those who responded backed the new road.
The road will also relieve major congestion along the A259 between the two towns, reduce problems on the A2036 to the east of Bexhill, the rural roads north of Bexhill and the routes through Crowhurst and Battle.