Bristol, Conn. (WTNH) - The afternoon commute just got a bit easier for people living or working in the Bristol area. A new two-and-a-half mile extension of Route 72 has opened to traffic.
The grand opening for long-delayed project was held Monday.
There was a host of former mayors and other political leaders in Bristol. They came out because this project has taken more than a generation. By most estimates this new section of the expressway has taken over forty years to complete.
"I went downstairs this morning just checking the records," said Bristol Mayor Art Ward. "I'm not saying it's been a long time, but it went through twelve mayors… and those are like Frank Nicastro, ten years as mayor!"
Even when ground was broken for the project three years ago there were some who thought it would never be finished.
Why did it take so long?
Former Mayor Bill Stortz says he not too sure. "In retrospect; getting the land, the money, where it went and some lesser technical issues, and there were some people that were opposed to it."
Loud opponents always managed to speak out at public hearings during municipal election years, slogging it down year after year, but reason finally won out.
Leone, "It's impossible to get in and out of Bristol without a highway," said Former Mayor John Leone. "So it's really a great deal."
Eighty-percent of this forty-six million dollar deal was paid for by Uncle Sam. State funds paid for the other 20-percent.
It is one of the busiest east-west corridors in central Connecticut. With this new section now open, traffic hopefully will be moving a lot faster.
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