A long-awaited partial bypass of Melton moved a giant step forward this week as councillors agreed a preferred route and prepared to apply for government funding.
The £74 million Melton Mowbray Distributor Road (MMDR) would provide relief roads to the north and east of the town in a bid to ease historic traffic congestion.
The results of a six-week public consultation exercise were discussed by cabinet members at Leicestershire County Council on Tuesday.
And it was agreed to press ahead with plans to build the proposed 4.3-mile single carriageway, starting from the A606 Nottingham Road to the north of the town, crossing Scalford Road, Melton Spinney Road, the A607 Thorpe Road and B676 Saxby Road, before re-joining the A606 Burton Road to the south of the town.
Speed limits would be 40mph between the A606 Nottingham Road and Melton Spinney Road and 60mph for the section linking to the A606 Burton Road.
Councillors also agreed to submit the Outline Business Case (OBC) to the Department for Transport, which must be done before December 22 to enable funding to be in place for the planned start of building, in the spring of 2020 at the earliest.
Councillor Byron Rhodes, member for the Belvoir division, told the meeting: “At one time I thought this day would never come.
“People said ‘you will never make it happen – we’ve been talking about it for 40 years’.
“We are in a good position to get the money we need and start building in 2020.”
The cost of the scheme is £74 million and it is hoped that the government will contribute £55 million with the remainder paid by local authorities and housing developers.
A planning application could be submitted by next summer if all goes to plan.
Councillor Blake Pain told the meeting: “The county council and Melton Borough Council have spent many years preparing for this moment.
“These are exciting times.”