THE Duke of Gloucester officially opened the new traffic-busting £9.2m Petts Hill bridge today.
He unveiled a plaque at the site in Northolt Road, on the Harrow-Ealing border before congratulating everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition.
The Duke said: "It's a pleasure to come again to Harrow and to have the pleasant task of declaring your new bridge open.
"The bridge looks massive and I hope it's there for more than 100 years.
"I wish the very best of luck to all those who are crossing over or under it."
During four days over Christmas 2008, when the Chiltern line had purposely been closed, engineers removed the 100-year-old railway bridge and constructed a wider successor in its place.
Now the embankments have been cut back, the road beneath can be extended to accommodate two lanes of traffic and bus lanes in either direction, wider footpaths and new cycle lanes over the next five months.
Improvements will also be made to the junction of Alexandra Avenue and Northolt Road, including the addition of traffic light crossings that give priority to buses.
The new Petts Hill bridge is being funded by Transport for London (TfL), Network Rail, Harrow Council and Ealing Council, and, according to TfL, all the works will be complete by September with only the occasional weekend one-day road closure needed.
Councillor Philip O'Dell (Labour) was portfolio holder for the environment in 2004 when negotiations.
He said: "It had always been an aspiration for the borough for 10 years. We did a survey and all the time the top complaint was congestion along Northolt Road.
"We did some minor works but it was quite quickly identified that the only way forward was to get a replacement bridge."
Originally, Network Rail were only content to fund a smaller, less radical scheme but in 2005 a delegation from Harrow Council won over the firm and Transport for London and secured the promise of larger amounts of money for the more comprehensive transformation being pursued today.
One of the people missed on Tuesday was the late chairwoman of Danemead Grove and Petts Hill Residents' Association, Linda Kouparris, whose sustained community campaigning in favour of a new bridge was praised by both the Mayor of Harrow, Councillor John Nickolay, and the Mayor of Ealing, Councillor Ian Green.