A £35 MILLION "missing link" in the Lothians road network has finally opened, with the first traffic hitting the new motorway last night.
Contractors said the M9 Spur Extension connecting the Forth Road Bridge and the M9 at Kirkliston would be finished on schedule in around four weeks.
The new road will be welcomed by commuters using the notorious single-carriageway A8000, which has suffered heavy traffic and severe delays for years.
Southbound traffic was diverted on to the new three-kilometre stretch of motorway from the A90 near Dalmeny last night, with the road opened northbound from 10pm tonight.
Only one lane each way and a 30mph speed limit will be in place for four weeks as the final pieces of work are carried out.
Motoring groups today welcomed the new link, adding it was long overdue.
Neil Greig, Scottish policy manager for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: "This will make a huge difference for drivers.
"The A8000 is one of the worst stretches of road in Scotland for delays because it was never fit for purpose.
"It was an anachronism. Having a single carriageway linking two of the busiest roads in Scotland's motorway network was plain daft.
"There will still be congestion heading north towards the toll booths until that situation is sorted out but at least we now have a safe, modern road in place."