Reporting Anjali Hemphill
LINCOLN (CBS13) – It’s been years in the making, and is just in time for Monday’s commute.
The Lincoln Bypass construction on Highway 65 is finally finished, but some merchants are concerned the new construction is going to take money out of their coffers.
Only a few cars were seen driving along the main strip through Lincoln Sunday. It’s not something businesses along Highway 65 are used to.
“I think it’ll be good because traffic has been terrible here for so long,” resident Jay Spencer said.
Drivers like Spencer are already taking advantage of the new Lincoln Bypass, which opened Sunday after decades of planning and construction work.
“It was bumper to bumper. It was horrible, looked like they were parked in front of my building,” said Jovani Aceves, restaurant owner.
Highway 65 through downtown has been a popular route for drivers heading down to Sacramento. And, businesses along the old route were built to attract anyone driving by. But the new bypass gives those potential customers more options.
“Worst case scenario is if it becomes a ghost town down here, and absolutely no one comes through here; but I don’t think that will ever happen,” said Aceves.
While some business welcome the less traffic, others, like some gas stations, worry less cars on the road means less people will be filling up at their pumps.
“We’re gonna miss all the traffic going from Chico to Sacramento and vise versa,” said Billy Russell, Tower Market employee.
The Tower Market says they already saw fewer customers than usual Sunday morning. They went ahead and made some scheduling changes to adapt to the anticipated drop in business.
“We prepared for it too, slight hour cuts, longer lunches,” said Russell.
Meanwhile, it’s still too soon to tell if the new bypass will hurt downtown business. But, drivers know, getting here will be a lot easier.
“It’ll make it a lot more pleasant to come down here,” one resident said.
The new bypass project costs around $325 million.