UPDATE 11/29/2013 4:40 PM
The holiday season is officially here.
But businesses in one southeast Ohio town are wondering whether their cash registers will be "jingling" as much as they have in the past
A highway bypass around the city's business district has been standing for two months.
It used to be if you drove U.S. 33 between Athens and Columbus, you had no choice but to pass through Nelsonville's business district.
Small businesses have been concerned the lack of vehicular traffic through town might mean a lack of foot traffic in their stores.
But others, even those who thrive on out-of-town customers, believe it doesn't matter at all.
"I try to get people to come in the exit that's closest to my shop, but, for the most part, it's pretty simple," says Susan Holmes, owner of Nelsonville Quilt Company.
They do think fast food restaurants and gas stations might feel the pinch, because a lot of their business comes from travelers.
The businesses we spoke to believe the bypass might be a plus because it might relieve traffic congestion through the heart of Nelsonville.
UPDATE 10/1/2013 5:20 P.M.
A huge day Nelsonville, ODOT and southeastern Ohio, as a whole has awaited, planned and talked about since 1965.
Tuesday the Nelsonville bypass officially opened, creating a faster, safer and easier trip between here and Columbus.
There was a large turn out Tuesday morning at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Nelsonville bypass.
This $160 million project dates back to 1965 when the project was proposed and Tuesday, phase one and three opened.
Phase two was opened back in October of 2012.
The project is now complete.
Tuesday morning many people spoke, including Ohio University's President, the Director of ODOT and Wayne National Forest Supervisor.
This bypass is 8.5 miles long, four lanes of highway stretching through Athens and Hocking Counties and through the Wayne National Forest.
Officials say it cuts down the trip between Columbus and Charleston by 50 miles, or around 30 minutes.
"It's going to provide an opportunity for quicker passage east and west from Columbus to Charleston," says ODOT Director Jerry Wray. "Everything about this is good, it's a day that's been long awaited."
Officials says they worked closely with Wayne National Forest, as the highway extends right through it.
There is fencing, jump outs, passage made for the animals and certain animal crosses, as well as high mast lighting for bats.
NELSONVILLE, Ohio (AP) - A new bypass years in the making officially opens.
The new section of U.S. Route 33 around the city of Nelsonville opened Tuesday.
Route 33 is heavily used by motorists traveling between Columbus and southeast Ohio and those headed to Ohio University in Athens from points all over the state. The bypass is expected to relieve traffic jams on the main two-lane road through Nelsonville.
The bypass had been discussed for decades, and construction on the $175 million project started in 2007.
It passes through Wayne National Forest. The state spent more than $10 million just on making sure wildlife in the area and the environment were protected.
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