A MULTI-MILLION pound road project which has been years in the planning is due to open next week.

The Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor will open to motorists on Tuesday after more than a year of work.

Council officials said the road will open on Tuesday but some landscaping and other minor work will continue, with the site office remaining open.The 1.8 mile road will link the A66 at a new roundabout to Haughton Road, in Darlington, near its junction with Hundens Lane.

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The single-carriageway runs beside the course of the old Stockton and Darlington Railway bed.

There is a new throughabout, also known as a Hamburger style roundabout, which will link the road to Haughton Road.

A traffic-light controlled junction has been built at the roads junction with McMullen Road.

A spur road has been added to link with the Lingfield Point business park, and a nature reserve built opposite this junction.

Plans for the project were originally approved in 2002, but did not receive funding until 2006.

The scheme was initially expected to cost 12.5m, with the Government providing 12m of the costs. The additional funding came from Darlington Borough Council.

The cost of the road has since increased to 14.4m. A report cited planning errors and contract negotiations were the reason the costs had risen.

Work started in spring 2007. Although it was expected to be finished in May of this year, setbacks at the start of the project forced the opening date back.

Council officers hope the new road will reduce traffic on Haughton Road and through the village of Haughton. As a result they have launched a bid to improve road safety along Haughton Road.