HOPEWELL JUNCTION, N.Y. - It's been a long time coming, and has caused many headaches, but Hopewell Junction's Route 82 bridge project is finally completed, and the stretch of road officially reopened to traffic today.
A temporary bridge was installed five years ago, and also caused closures, so area residents and motorists affected have not been happy with this year's seven-plus month project to install the permanent structure.
"I think it's great that it's finally open," said Joann Lis, who lives in the house closest to the project. "It was a big pain all the way around. No one was happy about it, all the neighbors have been put out."
"It's been a huge pain, and now that it's open I think that's great," added Leo Lis. "Drivers would turn around in our driveway, and even ask me when I'm going to move my car (which was parked in Lis' driveway) so they could drive through and turn around."
The business most affected by the closure was Dave's E Cig Shop, which sits on the span that was closed, meaning customers were unable to drive and park at the shop.
Dave Pugliese's business, which had been growing steadily for four years, took a nose dive with the road closure, two employees had to be let go, and he said it will take time for the wounds to heal.
"It's been eight months, so I'm glad it's finally back open," Pugliese told Daily Voice Friday. "It's a big relief, but damage has been done... The store had been growing steadily for four years, then with the construction...
"But today has been good," he added. "People are starting to realize it's open again, and I hope with time the customers will come back."
The Mobil station on the corner of 82 and All Angels Hill Road also reported major slowdowns in business during the closure, and was happy to see traffic flowing through the roadway again.
"I am 100 percent happy, we're getting more customers, and you can see right away the difference in traffic," manager Gaganjit Gogi said. "Now we hope our old customers will come back. It took a long time for them to finish the project, and now it will take a little time for all our customers to come back."
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