NAPLES, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- People driving Route 302 through Naples won't be sitting through many traffic jams anymore. The new bridge is open. After years of planning and a year and a half of construction, the new bridge opened this afternoon---with a whole lot of celebration.
For people in the Lakes Region, this is a very big deal.
Summer traffic jams have been legendary, as cars stopped to let the old drawbridge open for boats. That is now a thing of the past. The new bridge arches over the river, so boats will pass underneath. Meaning no car or boat backups... and they hope a lot more people will want to stop and visit.
"I think people will come to town and look at this beautiful causeway and want to hang out," said marina owner Jim Allen. "And they're gonna come stop because they want to, they're not gonna be forced to stop because of traffic. "
Causeway Committee Chair Bob Neault told NEWS CENTER "It's going to have a tremendous positive effect, not just on existing businesses, but drawing oither businesses to the area to take advantage of what's offered here."
The project isn't done yet. There's more work to do on sidewalks, the landscaping, and building that amphitheater. But the big piece, the bridge, is now complete. And next week they plan to take the old drawbridge out so the waterway will be open for Memorial Day.