After millions of dollars and year of construction delays, the Welsford bypass on Route 7 between Fredericton and Saint John is finally open to drivers.

Construction begain in 2009 and the bypass was supposed to be completed by 2012. But construction ground to a halt last spring when the government admitted there was no money to finish the project.

The final cost of the bypass came in at $63 million, which is $2 million under budget.

Linda Charlton, whose land was expropriated  to make way for the bypass, is happy construction is complete.

"A lot of dust and dirt. A lot of noise," said Charlton, who was moved down the street. "Yes, it was a lot with the trucks going back and forth all the time. Yes, it was a lot of noise."

Welford bypass

The Welsford bypass shaves less than three minutes off the travel time through the area, but takes motorists off a winding, two-lane road. (CBC)

Taking the bypass only saves drivers about 150 seconds, but it puts them on a divided highway, rather than a winding, two-lane road between Welsford the Route 7 exit to Grand Bay-Westfield.

It will also take motorists away from the businesses along the original route, like the Welsford Irving gas station and convenience store, and Georgette's Diner.

Owner Georgette Holden expects to lose half of her customers.

"The people down here, they depend on the people who come by," said Holden.

Diner customer Jim Gillespie hopes the bypass won't keep too many customers away.

"I don't know why the future holds for people, places like this and the Irving down the road," said Gillespie.

"I had spoken to her, the lady that owned this place, some time ago and she said they were going to close when the road went through," he said. "But it's nice to hear it's going to stay."


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