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‘Early Christmas present’: Relief as Route 126 reopens near Moncton after Dorian damage

WATCH: Moncton-area detour removed

People in southeastern New Brunswick and drivers heading up and down Route 126 near Moncton are feeling a sense of relief.

A three-month-long detour is now removed after construction wrapped up following damage from post-tropical storm Dorian in early September.

“I’m so happy to have it open again,” says Julie Groundwater, who lives nearby. “It’s kind of like an early Christmas present.”

READ MORE: New Brunswick picks up the pieces after hurricane Dorian

The road had to be dug up after storm water was too much for the culvert to handle.

A lengthy detour caused confusion and frustration for many, including a local business and farm owner.

“GPS’ would automatically redirect people to Gorge Road to Indian Mountain Road to the (Route) 126, so even though we advertised and posted don’t mind the detour, if you were on Mountain Road, it would automatically direct you up Gorge,” says Mitchell Boyle, the owner of Boyle Family Farm. “During our corn maze season, we did struggle with people calling and saying ‘We’ve tried, we’ve done the detour, and they would actually give up and go home’.”

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Boyle says it’s hard to say the direct impact of the detour on his business.

Hurricane Dorian: Wind, rain from storm thrash southern New Brunswick
Hurricane Dorian: Wind, rain from storm thrash southern New Brunswick

In a statement from the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure, the province said “The work included dewatering of the site, fabrication of concrete pipes, excavation, backfilling and resurfacing the road.”

“The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused and appreciated the public’s patience,” according to the statement from Jeremy Trevors, a spokesperson for the department.

Secondary roads that are normally quiet had to shoulder the brunt of the detour traffic from the Moncton-to-Miramichi route.

“There was a lot of traffic and a lot of heavy traffic that we normally don’t have out here but I think the road has suffered a bit from the heavy traffic,” says Harold Smallwood, another local resident.

“There was a big increase in traffic on this road and we had noticed like even in middle of the night, there (were) big trucks and everything going up and down,” says Groundwater.

READ MORE: Hurricane Dorian arrives in Atlantic Canada

But after reopening Friday, it’s a sense of excitement.

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“It’s great,” says Smallwood. “We really missed it.”