A MULTI-million pound relief road opened in Taunton a year ago this week.

The £22 million Northern Inner Distributor Road (NIDR) as it was then known was built to reduce traffic congestion in the town and cut journey times.

Controversy surrounded the mile-long carriageway between Staplegrove Road at its junction with Chip Lane and Priory Avenue.

It was delivered 27 months late and the construction firm Carillion, which has since folded, put in a disputed bill millions of pounds over the agreed budget.

Embarrassed officials from Somerset County Council decided against an official ceremony.

Instead workmen at either end of the road simply picked up road closed signs, piled them on to the back of their vans and drove off.

A group of cyclists were the first to use the road at its Priory Avenue end.

And there was a trickle of vehicles over the ensuing hours as people began to realise the road was finally operational.

The NIDR name passed into history last month when the road was officially renamed Trenchard Way in honour of Tauntonian Hugh Montague Trenchard - the 1st Viscount Trenchard - founder of the Royal Air Force 100 years ago.