The opening of the latest section of the Conception Bay South bypass road last week has instilled a real sense of optimism in our town, despite complaints that the road is not officially finished.
The extension of the highway finally means a better commute for those living in the west end of our town and in neighbouring Holyrood.
The upper end of our town developed faster than the highway extension, creating lengthy and frustrating traffic problems for residents, especially during rush hour.
The new road, which also needs a proper name, will bring more residential development to Upper Gullies and Seal Cove, a benefit for these communities and the entire town.
The road will mean that long-awaited water and sewer services in the west end of the town will finally be available as more land is developed.
Home and land prices will increase as more people move to the west end because of the quicker access to the St. John’s area. There are already several new subdivisions in the area and more in the planning stage.
As the population grows, it should mean more businesses and services in the west end.
We may even see fast-food establishments, convenience stores, gas stations and other services that you see in suburbia.
The extension from Kelligrews to Seal Cove was in the works for many years, and finally announced in 2009.
The news prompted new residential development in Kelligrews and area. It also was a boost for the town’s planned commercial and retail area off Legion Road in Kelligrews, known as the Gateway.
It has been more than three years since the town spent more than $7 million to develop the Gateway and announced it was ready for business.
Now that the highway is open to Seal Cove, there is a renewed hope that we will get more shopping options beyond a building supply store.
The optimism also comes with a view that the project is not finished. The new 5.6-km section has a new ramp at Lawrence Pond Road and then ends at Seal Cove.
Lawrence Pond Road is a quiet and narrow residential street, certainly not designed for a highway entrance and exit.
It is not surprising that there are calls for the road to be upgraded and traffic lights installed at the Route 60 intersection.
There is no signage on Route 60 to direct drivers to the new road near Lawrence Pond. The road has been in the works for five years, so there has been plenty of time to erect some signage.
We ought to be past the old notion that we do not need road signs here in Newfoundland and Labrador because we all know where we are going.
As for a name, the bypass is officially part of Route 2, known in St. John’s and Mount Pearl as Pitts Memorial Drive.
We have either to call it Route 2, Pitts Memorial, or come up with our own name.
The road began about 30 years ago as a route from the Trans-Canada Highway to Manuels.
The gradual development to Seal Cove has spanned many governments, MHAs and mayors, so no elected official can claim credit and get naming rights.
We need a name that reflects our community’s history or location. How about Southern Cross Way in honour of the many men from our town who died in the sealing disaster of 1914?
There were over 170 men on that ship, many from Conception Bay and communities in our town.
It would be a fitting way to mark the 100th anniversary of the disaster.
Whatever the name, the road means new and exciting things for our town.
Joan Butler is a lifelong resident
of Kelligrews, Conception Bay South.
She can be reached by email