THE new access route to the frontier via the runway tunnel called Kingsway opened on its first full day without a hitch.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and his predecessor Sir Peter Caruana cut the ribbon to signal the birth of the new dual carriageway dreamt of 14 years ago.
It might have turned into a nightmare with the five-year court battle against OHL that paralysed works, but the final result is already improving traffic flow in the city.
Kingsway will stretch from the Devil’s Tower Road roundabout to the Eastgate roundabout at the border.
The Government crowned the moment with a video on Twitter.
The Chief Minister on his G1 official car became the last person to ride through the barriers at Winston Churchill Avenue and across the runway at midnight.
He then became the first person to ride along Kingsway through the tunnel and to Devil’ Tower Road.
It then opened the floodgates as hundreds of cars and motorcycles drove into and out of the tunnel for the first time.
“Our traffic officers are down at the Frontier early this morning assisting drivers with the new road layout,” Gibraltar police tweeted on the morning the tunnel opened.
“Please take extra care on the roads today.”
At the ceremony earlier in the day, former Chief Minister Caruana said how important it was for Gibraltar to have sound infrastructure.
“What people see when they visit Gibraltar influences what they come to think of Gibraltar and whether it is a place they want to invest in,” Caruana said.
“The more prosperous Gibraltar looks the less likely are likely to take the view that our political future will be dealt in this way or that way as opposed to our way.”
Picardo said he was honoured to inaugurate Kingsway alongside Caruana.
“This major national infrastructure project has spanned both our successive governments and has required us to work towards a long-term goal for the benefit of Gibraltar as a whole,” the Chief Minister said.
“Kingsway will stand as a testament to the collective Gibraltarian spirit and resolve in ensuring the betterment today of the Gibraltar of tomorrow.”
On Friday, the Chief Minister revealed on GBC that the final cost of the tunnel was in fact £34 million.
He said that the government only paid £24 million to the contractor OHL but then had to pay an extra £10 million for ‘professional services’.
But he said that if the tunnel was built today it would cost £120 million, so the government was right to fight OHL in court at the time.