Nelsonville Kicks Off Bypass Completion With 5K

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The Nelsonville bypass opens Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. and will be live streaming the event

It was an event almost half a century in the making.

People flocked to Nelsonville Saturday morning to run, walk and bike on the newly completed Nelsonville Bypass for the opening 5k event. 

The bypass has been in planning since 1965, and will allow travelers to stay on U.S. 33 when driving, instead of cutting through slower Nelsonville roads.

Three non-profits organized the event to celebrate the long-awaited opening of the bypass, but unpredictable construction dates made planning difficult.

"We didn’t really know until about a month and a half out that this was going to be the date, so we planned kind of in a vacuum, thinking like a generic Saturday, and built the plan around that," said Andrew Stone, race director.

Hundreds of participants from Nelsonville and surrounding areas completed the race, before heading back to Nelsonville Square for a celebration.

Tiffany Inboden from Logan has been running in races for months now, and said this one was one of her favorites.

"Today was a beautiful day and it was a great run, I was so excited when I saw the balloons, I didn’t even see my time. So I was just like super stoked about it," she said.

Dave Shoemaker, pastor of Buchtel United Methodist Church, ran with members of his congregation. 

He travels on U.S. 33 often, and has been waiting for the bypass to open for decades.

"I think a lot of people were anxious to see what this was and what it looked like. I mean, we’ve read about it and heard about for a long time.  We’ve been waiting for it an even longer time..I think everybody was anxious to see it, and check it out and everybody’s real happy. " Shoemaker said.

The Nelsonville bypass will officially open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday, Oct. 1.

It includes an eight-foot-high fence to protect wildlife in the Wayne National Forest, and creates more room, to keep motorists safer.

After years of waiting for the bypass and months of planning the event, Stone said it was all worth it. 

"It’s a neat, once in a lifetime opportunity for people to run or bike on a section of roadway that they’ll never be able to run or bike on again. And it’s beautiful up there. It really is," he said.