A town's decades-long wait for a bypass is nearing its end - with a major milestone for the project now passed thanks to the agreement of government funding.

The government has today committed to more than £26m of funding towards the building of new bypass for the A140, meaning it will no longer pass through the centre of Long Stratton.

Diss Mercury: How the Long Stratton bypass could lookHow the Long Stratton bypass could look (Image: Norfolk Homes)

The announcement has been hailed as a "great day" for the town, which has long since campaigned for this project to come to fruition.

Alison Thomas, South Norfolk District councillor for the town, said: "Having campaigned for a bypass for Long Stratton since 1997, I am delighting funding has been agreed.

Diss Mercury: Alison Thomas, councillor for Long StrattonAlison Thomas, councillor for Long Stratton (Image: archant)

"This is a great day for Long Stratton residents and one many feared would never come.

Transport bosses at County Hall say the new road will cut congestion and support the local economy, with the Department of Transport's funding making up more than half of the road's overall £37.44m cost.

Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for transport, said: "This is fantastic news.

Diss Mercury: Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council.Martin Wilby, cabinet member for highways and infrastructure at Norfolk County Council. (Image: Archant)

"The A140 through Long Stratton is a real pinch point that affects thousands of road users and the people who work and live there on a daily basis.

"We want to deliver this vital scheme as soon as possible to cut congestion, help the local economy and vastly improve this major regionally important route linking Norwich and Ipswich.

"The bypass is set to create hundreds of new jobs and homes, open up improvements for cycling and walking, and solve traffic and transport issues local people have been facing for more than a generation."

The bypass will be a single carriageway of just under 4km, leaving the existing A140 at Church Lane before re-joining just south of Oakside farm.

Providing it is given the government's final approval, construction is hoped to begin midway through 2023, with the road opening to traffic before the end of 2024.

Plans for the bypass were originally drawn up three years ago, but a revised version was submitted in March.

The project has been designed in partnership with Norfolk Homes Ltd and Norfolk Land Limited, which will also see more than 1,800 homes built in the area.