SOUTHEND Airport’s new £2million link road is open.

Barriers on the highway, which connects Eastwoodbury Lane with Nestuda Way, were removed at midnight as the airport enters the next phase of its expansion project.

Airport bosses and local councillors joined members of the Eastwood and St Laurence Residents’ Association to walk along the new route yesterday, and cut a red ribbon to herald its opening.

Last July, airport chiefs applied for permission to block traffic moving along Eastwoodbury Lane and build a new link road.

The plans for the new road were approved by the council, but more than 60 objections by residents and campaign group Stop Airport Expansion Now forced the Government to hold a public inquiry in May.

However, the Department for Transport rubber-stamped the proposal last month and the section of the road which runs along the airport’s southern border was closed permanently this morning.

The new route starts near the existing junction with Avro Road and cuts across fields north of the Tesco Extra store, in Prince Avenue, joining Nestuda Way at a new roundabout.

Sally Carr, Southend Council’s deputy mayor, said: “I hope we can now look forward to the future.

“There have been people who were against this, but that is in the past now and I hope we can move on.”