THE days of painfully long drives from Gracemere to Rockhampton are finally over for the likes of Ellen Smith.
For most of her life, the Rockhampton Regional Councillor has commuted between her Bouldercombe home, Gracemere and Rockhampton.
Last night the second Yeppen Lagoon bridge was expected to open, bringing an end to more than two years of traffic delays and congestion at the city's southern entrance.
The drive that should take about 10 minutes to get from Gracemere to Rockhampton took Cr Smith more than 45 minutes during peak-hour traffic.
She blamed the mining boom for the traffic bottleneck at the Yeppen crossing; saying the number of industrial workers in Central Queensland had risen dramatically in the past five years.
"Roadworks have been ongoing for the past two years ... Despite a drop in the mining industry in the past 12 months, the number of commuters using the Capricorn and Bruce highways to get to Rockhampton hasn't changed," she said.
In-bound traffic from the Bruce and Capricorn Hwys will use the old Yeppen Lagoon bridge to enter the city.
Drivers heading south or west of Rockhampton will use the new bridge to exit the city. It is three metres higher than the old structure and is 420m long.