Highways England (HE) has announced that its £1.5bn ($1.9bn) A14 road project is set to open to traffic more than six months ahead of schedule.

The road project, which is expected to improve journeys between the East of England and the Midlands, was initially scheduled to open to drivers by the end of this year.

HE has now stated that it intends to open the 21-mile A14 improvement ahead of schedule this spring.

This announcement comes after a section of the scheme, a 12-mile bypass south of Huntingdon, was opened a year early in December. The bypass has already been used for over five million journeys.

The A14 is considered to be an essential route that is used by 85,000 commuters daily, including over 21,000 hauliers transporting essential goods around the country.

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “Opening this scheme more than six months early and on budget shows what the UK construction industry can achieve working with Highways England on the Strategic Road Network.”

UK Roads Minister Baroness Vere said: “I’m delighted that the A14 upgrade will open ahead of schedule, not only meaning drivers will benefit from quicker and safer journeys sooner, but also ensuring that key access between the region’s ports and the West Midlands will be boosted.

“Investing in key transport links such as this is part of this government’s plan to level up access across the country, ensuring all regions are better connected and improving journeys for all.”

Work on the country’s biggest road scheme commenced in November 2016. For the project, around 13,000 people have been employed, with up to 2,500 working on site during the project’s peak period.

In addition to the Huntingdon southern bypass, the project features an upgrade to the A14 between Swavesey and Milton and a new local access road, as well as the A1307, which runs parallel to it between Cambridge and Godmanchester.

The scheme also features around 24 miles of new routes for cyclists, walkers and horse riders.