A multi-million pound bypass which was 70 years in the making has made a town a “pleasure to visit again” in the year since it opened.

Hold-ups of 45 minutes in and around Newtown, Powys, were commonplace and the area was “gridlocked”.

The town’s mayor David Selby said “endless queues” and air pollution were now “bad memories”.

But one business said some traders had lost custom without traffic travelling through the town.

Following decades of discussions, the bypass was given the go-ahead in 2015 and formally opened in February 2019.

“From the visitors’ perspective Newtown can be more than an feared obstacle on the way to the coast,” Mr Selby said.

“The bypass has freed the town from a lot of its traffic and made it a pleasure to visit again.”

The four-mile (6.4km) road runs to the south of the town, with two lanes in one direction and one in the opposite direction to provide overtaking points.

Montgomeryshire AM Russell George said: “Traffic flow has greatly improved and the bypass has already supported business growth.”

“The town was gridlocked before the bypass opened – the bypass is now helping people get to and from work much more quickly,” he added.

Colin Owen, who runs a coal and agricultural merchants, said the contractors did a “fantastic job