The UK’s Highways England has completed a £17.5m project that involved widening the A500 dual carriageway in Staffordshire to reduce congestion and improve traffic flow.

The widened A500 features three operating lanes in each direction. The project took 16 months to complete while the final landscaping works will be carried out over the following months.

The widening of the road will ease congestion around North Staffordshire, reducing traffic jams on the road between Porthill (A5271) and Wolstanton (A527).

Highways England senior project manager Michael Hillier said: “We are delighted to have now opened these much-needed extra lanes, which will improve safety and reduce delays for anyone using this very busy road.

“By improving journey times and easing congestion, we will also support local businesses, attracting more investment and therefore creating more jobs. The benefits of this scheme will be enjoyed by people for generations to come.”

The project involved laying more than 40,000 tonnes of crushed stone, sand and gravel.

It also included installing 655m of concrete safety barriers in the central reservation and erecting 380m of retaining wall metal sheets.

A total of 616 people worked on the widening project.

Stoke-on-Trent City Councillor Daniel Jellyman said: “I’m sure the vast majority of motorists in the city have been caught in tailbacks on this particular stretch of the A500 at some point, especially at peak times.

“The widening of the road by Highways England is a big step in the right direction and is great news for residents, commuters and businesses. It will cut queues, reduce pollution and speed up journey times, which will increase economic activity.”

In May, Highways England awarded the contract for A66 Northern Trans-Pennine route upgrade.