Bypassed businesses looking up
Bonville Ampol has been hit hard by the newly opened bypass, with owner Kerrie Ablett saying the hundreds of cars that used to go by the service station has dropped off significantly.
"When the bypass was close to opening, we weren't sure what was going to happen," Mrs Ablett said.
"But we're doing better than we thought we would."
That's down to the service station adapting to the loss of the passing traffic, by opening a Post Office as part of the business in August.
Mrs Ablett said most of their custom is now locals who use the postal service at the same time as they get fuel or goods from the station.
"People can run in and grab what they want while checking their mail or posting a letter," she said.
"The less traffic on the road has actually helped us, because it means people can access the shop better and not have to worry about finding a place to park."
It's a positive that adjacent business Absolutely Fabulously Local is drawing upon as well.
Opening just a couple of weeks before the bypass, Absolutely Fabulously Local is weathering the loss of traffic by promoting itself as a niche business offering chemical-free produce and alternate meats such as duck.
"We have customers coming from Halfway Creek and Bellingen and they see us as a central location," owner Kim Vincent said.
"The lack of traffic has actually made the road friendlier, too - we see people coming through on bikes, even horses, which you'd never have seen before.
"I'm hoping the community recognises what a bonus this is and I'd love to see craft stalls and the like set up along the road."
Ms Vincent said the future looks bright for her business, a notion Mrs Ablett agrees with.
"Once they finish working at Pine Creek, that road will open up for customers all the way to Repton, which will be great for us," Mrs Ablett said.