Long-Awaited Bypass Opening

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UPDATED: Tuesday October 1, 2013 6:53 PM

Officials have opened a new bypass road that cuts through southeast Ohio.
    
Drivers can now use the new section of U.S. Route 33 around the city of Nelsonville.
    
U.S. 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.

Stuart Brooks is part of the family that started Rocky Boots in Nelsonville, and he can't believe the day is finally here.

Years of debate and millions of construction dollars later, the bypass will speed up travel time between Columbus and Athens.

It will also cut down on congestion along the old two-lane through town.

The fear is that the bypass will cause travelers to bypass local businesses.

"Nobody knows what the impact is," added Brooks.

Susan Holmes owns the Nelsonville Quilt Company.

"I had a lady stop by yesterday on her way home from North Carolina," she said.

In her nine years, her staff, space and sales have doubled.

Holmes is optimistic more people will thread their way through her doors from more traffic on the new bypass.

"A lot of people don't realize there's a lot more to Nelsonville than what they see now," she added. "The bypass won't hurt me. I hope it doesn't - I'll let you know next year."

The bypass goes 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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