ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Hillsdale Drive Extended in Charlottesville and Albemarle County is now officially open for business.

The road opened up at 9 a.m. Friday, December 22, giving drivers more options for getting around.

"We're excited about it, the project. We opened it right on time for the final push for the Christmas shopping," said Alex Ikefuna. "It's a shared-used spot. People can ride their bike, and it provides quick access north and south of [Route 29]."

The extension includes a new lane between Greenbrier Drive in the county to Hydraulic Road in the city. A traffic signal has also been added at the intersection of Seminole Court, as well as a roundabout at the intersection with Zan Road.

The mile-long project is something Charlottesville has been asking for since 2010. It finally got underway in June of 2016, and was originally supposed to wrap up in October of 2018. Road work was delayed due to weather at several points.

"Construction has been a challenge, as it always is, but we're a growing community so it's just our turn to be in the middle of the construction zone. Now that it’s open we'll be able to enjoy the results," said Peter Thompson with the Senior Center.

The new road comes just in time for the holidays as a way to prevent bumper-to-bumper traffic as people get their final shopping done.

"It's a pretty good access road, and convenient, and provides a little less stress instead of going through Route 29. This is a nice way of finding an alternative option," Ikefuna said.

"Having access to Rosewood Village and the [Laurels of Charlottesville] and the businesses around here, and it certainly gives access to Whole Foods and Seminole Square and Toys-R-Us, and everything else too. So maybe it'll help people get their last-minute Christmas shopping done this weekend," said Thompson.

The city said it is important to remember to follow the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit through the extension because of so many cars that will be coming in and out of the shopping centers.