GREEN BAY - Green Bay's newly constructed Mason Street interchange with Highway 41 was officially open to traffic Saturday.
The opening reconnects a major retail area, and that has some local businesses feeling like they're finally up and running at full speed, too.
The $29 million project replaced the overpass, and added three multi-lane roundabouts. The work took about six months to complete, and wrapped up several days ahead of schedule.
"It's nice, it's been difficult for quite awhile," said Jason Ramos, shopping with his family on Saturday morning.
Shoppers and store managers alike say the opening of the Mason Street ramps and overpass this weekend has brought welcome relief:
The sounds of beeping cash registers are much more pleasant than the sounds of half a year of construction.
"It was approximately five days ahead of schedule, so it's great to have it open on the weekend when people were out and about. It's great to see the old faces in here," said Jon Wieser, manager of Festival Foods.
'I'm so happy it's been early because it's been so difficult getting around, and the traffic jams. I love it," said Sally Goodman as she purchased her groceries.
While businesses like Festival Foods and Van Vreede's dealt with the construction dust out front, the stores used the lull in customer traffic to their advantage.
"We did some remodeling, and added some kitchens in the store and we've added a new parking lot right away too, so we're trying to keep up with the city," said Michael Abendort, manager at Van Vreede's.
"Our cart lobby, our grocery department. We took the time when the road was closed to update our facility," described Wieser.
Managers say they enjoy the artistic updates to the concrete work.
"It's esthetically pleasing," said Abendort.
Stores and drivers say the new series of roundabouts haven't been too hard to navigate.
"It's kind of like how De Pere has three in a row. This one has three in a row. It's not too bad," said Ramos.
"It's saved me eight minutes on my drive," said Abendort.
Now that people can get around more efficiently, businesses are grateful they are coming through the door again.
"We have a lot more guests coming through the store," said Wieser.
The work on the Mason Street interchange is part of the larger US 41 project.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says that project will be completed in 2014.
FOX 11's Kelly Schlicht will have more about this story on FOX 11 News at Nine.
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