Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
A new stretch of the George Bush Turnpike will open Dec. 21, 2011 -- hopefully connecting customers to local businesses who've felt the strain of detours.
The wait is over. The North Texas Tollway Authority will open the eastern extension of the George Bush Turnpike, late Wednesday afternoon.
The stretch connects Garland, Sachse and Rowlett from State Highway 78 to I-30 in Northeastern Dallas County.
“It’s been a lot slower this year,” said hairstylist, Cassie Hammil at Instyle Salon in Garland, near all the roadwork. Hammil said months of construction and detours along the George Bush Turnpike have sent customers looking elsewhere for a cut.
“It:s been so hectic for them to know what exit to go, we tell people what exit to go and they’re like, but its closed,” said Hammil.
While the construction has area business owners wanting to throw their hands up, on Wednesday all the signs and cones come down. The NTTA will open the nearly 10 mile eastern extension of the Bush Turnpike.
“We’re very excited, I hope it brings some more people in, and takes away some of the confusion, said Firehouse Subs Manager, Jodie Hammonds. She said business at her sandwich shop has also suffered.
Construction on the bush turnpike began more than three years ago and the $958 million project is expected to relieve congestion for drivers from the eastern suburbs.
“I’m gonna drive I-30 tomorrow and see what its like,” said Hammil.
She expects the new roadway will shave several minutes off her morning commute, and hopefully add several dollars to her monthly earnings.
“It could be an early Christmas present, we hope,” she said.
According to the NTTA, the average cost for driving the new stretch of the Bush, is $.15 cents per mile, with a Toll Tag.