Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray was joined by the Federal Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce, and NSW Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall in opening the New England Highway roundabout next to Armidale Regional Airport, which will streamline the entrance to the airport and the adjacent Armidale Regional Airport Business Park under development.
The $4.2 million project was jointly funded by Council, State and the Federal Governments.
Mr Joyce said he thought the roundabout was incredibly important for the development of Armidale.
"It comes on the back of Federal funding that also assisted with the airport,' he said.
"We're making sure we're getting a broadening of the economic base, it works to the plan of APVMA, driving jobs into Armidale. Making sure it is a place that, after we're gone, people see huge opportunities.
"You've got to plan for the long-term. You've got to look over the horizion and i am always trying to do that."
Mr Marshall said it was a very important day and another step forward to realising the larger and bolder vision for Armidale to realise its economic potential.
"This is part of a very bold vision to grab this place by the scruff of the neck and say we're going to grow, we're going for growth and economic prosperity and do everything we can to create more jobs," he said.
"The roundabout is critical, it provides those necessary linkages."
Cr Murray said the improved entrance to the airport and business park provided by the new roundabout would help to tap into traffic along the highway and improve access for heavy vehicles.
"It will also be essential to unlock land on the other side of the highway," he said.
"Significant development on the eastern side of the highway could not occur without a safer, more formalised entrance and exit, so this roundabout was even more important in unlocking that part of the city's entrance."
Cr Murray said while the roundabout's construction was completed several months ago, the current milestones in the business park's development and recent work by the Australian Garden History Society to help establish the structure as a model project in drought-resistant gardening made it a fitting time to have an official opening.
"Society members did an exceptional job working with Council on the landscaping, which has beautified the site while conserving precious water and provides a constant reminder about the ongoing water restrictions and our need to be more water efficient," he said.