WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.(WENY)--  In Spring of 2018, the $7.2 Million dollar paving project on State Route 14 running from Watkins Glenn to Reading New York commenced. After about 18 months of construction, the project has officially been deemed completed and ready for full public use. Even though the main focus of the project was resurfacing the long stretch of State Route 14, it also added more safety features such as updated traffic signals and clear, re-painted cross walks.  

"It's a walk through history and Watkins Glen. And that's transporting at it's finest, it allows people to access communities and for communities to access what's here and the community here is just growing by leaps and bounds. Tourism is spectacular and this does nothing but help elevate the economy here locally," says Marie Therese Dominguez, Commissioner of the State Department of Transportation. 

But with all of these updates, parking and walking spaces were limited around downtown Watkins Glen, making it more difficult for the public to reach the local businesses. 

"The businesses were very patient, they worked with us because there was a lot of disruptions. There was not parking at time on the street, there was sidewalks being torn up, they saw the finished product and they were all very impressed with the brick work and everything. And it has enhanced our pedestrian traffic and everything so businesses are booming downtown now," says Luke Leszyk, Mayor of Watkins Glen. 

WENY News reached out to a local business located in the downtown area to find out if they were negatively affected by it, but surprisingly enough they were not. 

"Where ever you go in Upstate New York in the summertime, every thing is under construction, so it's no big deal. The visitors, I don't even now if they even noticed, but now with the street finished and once we get the flower program going next year, look out, it's really going to be busy here," says Jim Guild, Owner of Famous Brands.

The project also complements the village's previously awarded $10 Million dollar downtown revitalization initiative grant. The mayor told WENY News all of these improvements are making the village an even shinier gem.

"It's an amazing time in Watkins Glen right now, we're excited by the improvements that are coming, this has only enhanced that.  Our downtown is more vibrant now and hustle and bustle with people and cars and everything so it's a wonderful time to be in Watkins Glen right now," says Leszyk.

With the State Route being open, the mayor and local businesses hope to see an increase in tourism and over all foot traffic throughout Watkins Glen.