There were smiles all round as the Kings Highway reopened on Tuesday, January 14.
After five weeks of the highway being closed, Bega MP and NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance happily welcomed the first flow of cars.
"It's [Kings Highway] a lifeline to Canberra and will mean so much to so many to reunite with their family and friends," he said.
"It has been a psychological barrier over the past five weeks, to see this open now is a godsend."
Mr Constance said it was vital Canberra folk visit.
"We need the trade," he said.
"We are only halfway through summer, Canberrans can still come down and enjoy our beaches and be part of making sure our small businesses and community can get back on their feet."
Senior manager of infrastructure services, Robyn Lyster of Transport NSW, said the damage caused by fire was unheard of.
"The intensity of heat at the top of the mountain caused damage never seen before," she said.
Fifty pieces of guard rail were damaged, some pieces 350 metres long. Signs got so hot, blobs of aluminium were found on the ground.
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There were 250 new signs installed, 250 guide posts, and new patches of asphalt laid.
Project manager Stephen Edwards said the process to reopen happened in "three waves".
Mr Edwards said the first was to gain access: "Arborists cut a track so that it was safe to get into the joint."
"The second wave was to go through and cut down dangerous trees that were still on fire or causing an issue," he said. The third wave was: "To get infrastructure back for the public."
Andrew Cummins of SportsPower Batemans Bay was excited by the news.
"It means we will have a little bit of a summer now," he said.
"Foot traffic is what we need."
Mr Cummins' shop was closed for seven days due to power outages.
"I lost one third of January's income that week," he said.
He compared his sales to the year before.
"Last Friday I had 20 sales, that same day the year before was 154 sales," he said.
He said bushfires had impacted tourism numbers since December.
"I know businesses in town already closing down, and stores nearby struggling," Mr Cummins said.
"In December, businesses were already losing up to 70 percent."
Mr Cummins fears what the winter may bring.
"A few businesses might fail," he said.
"We make a lot of hay in summer to feed out the winter."