The Stafford Western Access Route has been built in a bid to ease congestion in the town centre, particularly by the rail station, as new homes are built in the town.
Construction of the £63 million project began in summer 2019 and work has continued throughout the pandemic.
The final section is a new viaduct, which has been built over the River Sow to connect the retail park and the A34 Foregate Street.
Seventy-two steel beams – each weighing 58 tonnes – form the base of the viaduct.
The project has included restoring a former car park into marshland wildlife habitat, flood compensation works, planting 2,360 trees, installing bat boxes and a mammal crossing and creating 2.2km of cycling routes.
The road has been funded by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Enterprise Partnership through the Government’s Local Growth Fund, as well as developers. Both the county and borough councils also contributed to the scheme.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport David Williams said: "The Stafford Western Access Route is a huge project for the town and Staffordshire, and one of the biggest engineering schemes the county council has undertaken in over a decade. Marking its completion highlights what an achievement this has been for all the partners involved.
"This project is playing a major part in supporting the county town’s future growth – unlocking development sites for new homes, businesses and community facilities.
"Furthermore, it will ease town centre congestion which impacts the local economy before we see new projects progressing, including the Stafford Gateway and HS2 links to the town.
"The team has worked hard throughout the pandemic period to keep the scheme on schedule, and we have ensured there has been comprehensive engagement with communities and businesses throughout which has been extremely important. We’d again like to thank nearby residents for their understanding while work has taken place and to all partners who have made the project a success."
LEP chairman Alun Rogers said: “The Stafford Western Access Route is one of our major successes which will deliver growth, attract investment and support job creation for our communities.
“It will play an important role in our longer-term economic recovery. The completed route will complement the Stafford Gateway project and our future HS2 connections.
“The project demonstrates to people, business, future investors and the Government the successful working across the public and private sectors in Staffordshire.”
Stafford Borough Council’s cabinet member for economic development and planning, Frances Beatty, said: “The completion of the Stafford Western Access Route is further demonstration of the significant investment that is taking place in and around the town and of how many projects are now coming to fruition, getting underway or in the pipeline.
“It will vastly improve access into and out of the town for shoppers, for our workforce, students and visitors alike. The new road is a gateway to the ongoing transformation of our town centre and has provided the town with the much-needed infrastructure to support the development taking place.
“One of our top priorities is growth and prosperity. We hope that through project delivery and our ambitious plans for the future our community will see that Stafford is heading in the right direction.”
The road links the A34 Foregate Street at Madford Retail Park to the A518 Newport Road Castlefields junction. It is hoped it wil improve traffic flow in Gaol Square, Newport Road (east of Kingsway), Station Road, Chell Road, A34 Foregate Street (south of the scheme) and Doxey Road.
The scheme will include improved conditions for bus services, pedestrians and cyclists. There will also be environmental benefits through the redevelopment of areas of derelict land and landscaping along the route.