OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - After 20 years of planning and more than three years of construction headaches and delays, the Fredrick Road widening project is nearly complete and open to traffic in Opelika.
Drivers aren't the only ones thrilled to see most of the construction barrels nearly gone.
A handful of those orange barrels still linger on the side of newly widened Fredrick Road, but traffic is moving on all four lanes of traffic and the new turning lane.
The heavy construction, detours, and delays are finally over.
"Really, it's been close to three years they have been working on it and you know it has been difficult for us but we are ready to get back to normal," said Casey Waid, owner of Play It Again Sports.
He and other business owners are thrilled construction crews are gone.
"We are very excited it has been a long three years, but our customers have been faithful to us and it's over, yay!" added Tabatha Rankin, owner of Fun and Fancy. "And we just hope others will come shop us."
"We had a developer do a traffic study last week and counted on one day 15,000 cars which is a tremendous amount of vehicles," said Scott Parker, city engineer.
Parker says the expansion, especially the turning lane, makes the road safer for travelers and will speed up emergency response times.
Plus, more cars mean more potential customers and profits for patient business owners who lived through the project and new developers down the road.
"Absolutely, the corridor is open for business, developers will do more retail, commercial, residential, it's going to do and add some great things for the city of Opelika," Parker said.
Parker also said the project cost more than $5 million after delays and utility relocation fees, paid for by a mixture of local, state and federal funds and grants.
While construction may be through on this section of Fredrick Road, there are plans in place to continue the connector.
Parker says he wants all of those Tiger Town shoppers to have easier access to historic downtown Opelika.
Next year, Parker will present a plan and budget to the city council to build a connector from Tiger Town to downtown.
That plan could include widening Fredrick Road near the justice center, but we will have to wait and see what develops there.