Wonderful to be home in three minutes '“ the first motorists use the Bay Gateway
After 68 years of waiting it all came down to a workman in a helmet and hi-vis jacket removing a row of traffic cones.
Then within minutes the first cars sped onto the Bay Gateway with a police escort and road builders Costain leading the way.
The time was 12.35pm on Monday, a bright and clear Halloween day, as vehicles finally got to use the £140m Heysham to M6 link road.
At first the road was open in only one direction – from the M6 to Morecambe and Heysham.
Vehicles were escorted onto the road at the roundabout near Junction 34, close to the Costain base at Halton.
Within minutes the first motorists had arrived in Morecambe.
Jane Larton, who lives in Torrisholme and was heading home, pulled up at the pedestrian crossing near Lancaster and Morecambe College and shouted from her window in excitement.
“It’s wonderful! Fantastic! I’m here from the motorway in no time, only three minutes,” she said before driving off.
Half an hour after opening, the first HGV came into sight.
Roy Pattinson from Inter-Grab, a lorry and tipper business from Heysham, later said: “Was I the first? They’ll have to name the road after me now!
“I was coming from Caton and I saw the road was open so I thought I’ll use it to go back to Heysham.
“I’m not sure how long it took me to drive down it, I was too busy admiring it. It’s grand!
“It will make a big difference to traffic coming in and out of Lancaster because all the lorries will use it.”
After a slow but steady start, it wasn’t long before the new road began to fill up with cars and lorries. Then at around 1.50pm, the road was opened in the opposite direction from Morecambe to the M6.
Some watching residents could barely believe their eyes that the day had finally come.
Kath Irwin said: “We’ve lived in Morecambe for over 40 years and this has been a long time coming. I hope it will reduce the queues on Morecambe Road.”
“I’ve been excited for this from day one,” said Joan Griffith.
“Our son lives in Nether Kellet and we can easily get right to his house now.”
Her husband Winston said: “I can’t knock what they’ve done. (The builders) were a good set of lads, they have been more than polite. I think it’s brilliant.”
Keith Satterthwaite said he just wished the road was easier to access for people living in Torrisholme.
He also said “it might have been better having a bridge near Lancaster and Morecambe College; traffic lights just make traffic stop and start.”