Roger Szendy, a member of the New Milford Town Council, remembers putting the bumper sticker "New Route 7 now" on a car. It was his father's car, back in the 1960s.

On Nov. 19, Mr. Szendy was just one of the dozens of elected officials and interested parties who came to witness the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened the new section of Route 7 to traffic -- finally.

The bypass, as it is commonly known, lets northbound traffic circumvent the Four Corners in Brookfield and head up a recently widened Route 7 into New Milford.

It had been talked about for decades.

The importance to the area of the completion of the 2.3-mile bypass, at a cost that rose to about $100 million, could be substantial in many regards.

The fact that elected leaders of Danbury and New Milford were part of the ceremony with Brookfield and state officials underscores the regional impact.

The most visible improvement will be to the quality of life for those who can now avoid traffic congestion that invariably ensued at the intersection of routes 202 and 25 in Brookfield -- the Four Corners -- especially during commuting hours. The ride to and from work will be much quicker for many.

Habits may change, as those rerouted vehicles will find somewhere else to stop for morning coffee or to refuel the car on the way home.

The nature of the Four Corners may shift from a place those stuck in traffic bemoan to a destination for those patronizing the many business establishments along that corridor.

At least, that is what many hope.

Brookfield must make a village center district proposed for that area a high priority. Details need to be worked out, consensus reached and funds sought to make sure the transition from a clogged-traffic road to one that is pedestrian-friendly happens as soon as possible.

For New Milford and its neighboring towns, the bypass opening and the expected 2010 completion of the ongoing Grove Street/Route 67 project could serve well to deliver commuters, shoppers and tourists more quickly to this area.

We're reminded, however, there is still a need for solutions such as the long-debated east-west connector about how to route ever-increasing auto traffic through the New Milford village center.

Area officials and residents also need to aggressively pursue the return of passenger train service to and from Danbury.

For a moment, however, let's savor the satisfaction of a project completed at long last and the opportunity of something new.