LONDON, ONT. -- Dundas Place is officially open to traffic.

For the first time in months, Jonathan Bancroft-Snell could look out his front door and see vehicles moving along Dundas Street.

“It has been a hard time as far as sales,” says Bancroft-Snell, owner of the Jonathan Bancroft-Snell Gallery. “ We’ve had people from out of town and clients looking for something specifically, but the missing part has been people just walking by.”

But now that the flex street is officially open, downtown businesses are rejoicing.

“This is a day we've been looking forward to since we signed the lease for this place,” says Julie Kortekaas, co-owner of Rebel Remedy.

“In the summer our clientele was down 75 per cent, and we had to lay off staff. It has been difficult for us personally. However, we made it through and only see business rising from here.”

The City of London officially christened Dundas Place with a ceremony Monday afternoon. The mayor placed the last brick on the north side of the sidewalk.

“In the last week, 10 days, I’m hearing from businesses that people are coming back downtown already,” says Mayor Ed Holder.

“This will add to the strength to it. They can drive and see the merchants that are open...In addition we can close it off to events and make it a pedestrian area.”

There are still some finishing touches to be done next spring and summer, but Holder says they wanted to do a soft opening to encourage people to shop downtown now.

“Having the road closed has been hard on the businesses, so we are pleased to open the street to traffic,” says Doug MacRae, manager of roads and transportation for the city.

“We have a great street here for people regardless of how they travel, whether walking, on a bike or by car.”

Bancroft-Snell has been vocal about his business’ struggles since the construction. But he also says he's been a proponent of the work since the beginning.

“This is going to benefit downtown London in a major way,” he adds. “It’s not just a pretty street, it’s now a street with infrastructure that is correct for the booming state of downtown London.”