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THE PINK 1951 FX 48-215 Holden was appropriate for the role of leading about a dozen cars on to the $237 million bypass around Holbrook yesterday.
Its proud owner, Lawrence Jensen of Tangambalanga, was keen to try the bypass after being part of its construction crews for 18 months.
But he still was surprised to be first in line when he turned up yesterday.
And his verdict? It was great and, he thought, a terrific asset for truck drivers.
Work on opening the freeway’s northbound lanes started at 7.30am and the traffic — led by Mr Jensen — took to the road late morning.
The southern lanes opened at 4pm.
Greater Hume Shire mayor Heather Wilton said she was relieved the bypass was finally open after two delays, caused by rain.
“Now the locals can plan their future,” she said. “It’ll be great for the town.”
She urged local and district residents to get out and try the bypass.
Roads and Maritime Services Hume Highway manager Tony Dobbin said it was great to see the road operating after 2½ years of construction.
“It would have had to snow for us not to open it today,” he said.
“There were no complications we couldn’t deal with today.”
Holbrook is the 49th town on the Hume Highway to be bypassed in 50 years.
Mr Dobbin said he still encouraged drivers take a rest break at Holbrook.
“It’s a nice town and it will be well sign-posted so people don’t miss the exit,” he said.
Mr Dobbin said there was still line-marking to be done, signs and guard rails to be installed and traffic barriers to be removed.
The old highway through Holbrook is still open to traffic.
The bypass starts four kilometres north of Holbrook and rejoins to Hume two kilometres south of the town.