A long-awaited North East transport link has moved a step closer after securing £12m from the government.
The Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor (DETC) will connect the town's Haughton Road and the A66.
It is anticipated that the 1.8 mile, single-carriageway road will reduce congestion and open up surrounding land for development.
Darlington MP Alan Milburn said it is the most important transport scheme in the town since the mid-1980s.
The government has agreed to commit £12.04m in funding, while Darlington Borough Council will contribute a further £460,000.
Haughton Road, Yarm Road and McMullen Road should all benefit from reduced volumes of traffic.
The next stage is for the council to appoint contractors, before the Department for Transport can give its seal of approval.
Planning permission for the scheme is already in place and work could start in the autumn, with a likely completion date of Spring 2008.
Mr Milburn, who had joined the council in lobbying for the funding, said: "The Darlington Eastern Transport Corridor is the most important highways scheme the town has seen since the A66 bypass was built in the mid-1980s.
"It will be crucial to efforts to cut congestion on main routes and brings enormous potential for further economic growth in the area. I am delighted to see the funding secured."