HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — The Hot Springs Bypass officially opened to the public on Monday afternoon. The stretch of road that connects northern Garland County to Hot Springs had delays and setbacks since its announcement— but county and city leaders said they're happy to see it open.
Hot Springs Mayor Pat McCabe, explained how this is a huge step towards alleviating some of downtown's traffic.
"From a public safety standpoint, which is what we're really focused on, it's a great thing," McCabe said. "This is a significant extension here."
It's a massive help for drivers because it will eliminate at least 15 minutes from the previous route, the Mayor explained.
It's not just good for regular drivers— this is big for safety as well.
"It's huge, it's probably the biggest development as far as a roadway goes since they started the expressway 30 years ago," Garland County Judge Daryl Mahoney said.
He said this would make it easier for people to get from one side of the county to the other, especially for first responders.
"We have a huge population up in the North side of the county, in the village," Mahoney said. "This is going to open health care up to CHI, national park, all of those will be so much more accessible."
However, this project didn't come without delays. Originally, the Bypass had a completion date of last year.
With the open road in front of them, though, Mahoney said you won't find any complaints from him.
"Delays don't seem like they were that long now since it was a sizeable task," he said. "When you look at what was accomplished and the amount of lives this will probably save, it was a small cost to pay."
More information on the finished Bypass can be found here.