THERE were plenty of false dawns and broken promises before The Mail was able to announce on March 24 in 1990 that the Government had pledged to carry out the Dalton bypass project.

The Mail noted: "Both Transport Secretary Cecil Parkinson and Environment Secretary Chris Patten have given their person approval to the bypass and A590 improvements.

"It follows the decision by independent inspector Brig Jim Holden to overrule objections at a public inquiry in Barrow Town Hall in September."

A first spade was put into the ground on November 26 in 1991 by Roads Minister Christopher Chope.

He planted an oak tree at the junction of Park Road and Oak Lea Road, Barrow.

A few months earlier, there had still been fears about the project and children from Chapel Street School lined up to post letters of protest to another Transport Secretary Malcolm Rifkind — urging no further delays.

The Mail, on February 7, in 1992, described how the boundary line of the bypass was being staked out at places such as the Goldmire Valley.

These early stages of the project — including diverting things such as gas mains — took place against a backdrop of severe frosts, gale force winds and heavy rain.

The Mail, on October 15 in 1992 noted: "A huge scar is being gouged across the face of Furness as men and machines dig a path for the long-awaited £8m Dalton bypass.

"The ambitious project to finally free the car-besieged town from traffic chaos has almost reached the half-way point after months of toil in all weathers.

"Contractors have battled through the foulest of winter weather and the heat and dust of summer to bring the foundations for the 2.8 mile road near to completion.

"And despite work being slowed by one of the wettest Septembers on record, the project is still on course to be finished by its planned completion date of November 1993."

Resident engineer David Rothwell said one of the major challenges was to build a four-span bridge over the railway in Goldmire Valley, near Dalton.

He said: "The pre-cast concrete beams are scheduled to be moved into place by crane early in the new year but if all goes to plan it could be carried out before Christmas."

As it turned out, the building schedule slipped by only a few weeks and the December 17 opening day was confirmed by the Department of Transport.

The new road needed 75,000 square metres of surfacing, 260 manholes and 200 road gullies.

Some 790,000 cubic metres of land was excavated and 400,000 of it recycled in the project.