FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Local leaders Monday at a grand opening ceremony 40 years in the making, announced the Veterans Boulevard interchange over State Route 99 will open Tuesday at 5 a.m.

They say the road, named to honor those who served in the U.S. Military, will provide a crucial connection between northwest Fresno and the rest of the city.

It’s anticipated that roughly 70,000 vehicles will travel over the brand-new stretch of road every single day.

Monday night, several northwest residents said they were jumping for joy that the project, which initially appeared in city plans in 1984, would finally be done after construction started in 2018.

“I’ve seen it when it was just in shambles and weeds everywhere. They did an amazing job. I’m so proud of them. I’m, I’m excited,” said Joe Reyes, a NW Fresno resident.

Reyes, says the new route over Highway 99 will connect him and others in the area to everything that they’ve waited for.

“I have friends on the other side of the freeway that are going to be able to open up on this side too. My pharmacy is CVS, and it’s a straight shot now from here to there. It’s so much easier. Save Mart’s going to be right there. The movies are right there,” said Reyes with a smile.

During the grand opening, which included a ribbon cutting, parade, and celebration for the new road named to honor Fresno’s finest, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer said the project, completed a year ahead of schedule, will be a game-changer for the area.

“An efficient east-west connection for those living west of the 99 freeway, often referred to as the forgotten part of Fresno. And we’re here today, all of us collectively to say, that that is a part of Fresno that will be forgotten no more,” said Dyer.

Local leaders say the $140 million project, mostly funded by Measure C, will provide not only an efficient route for drivers but also a bike lane and 2.5 miles of all-purpose trail.

And of course, a way for the rest of Fresno to go out west.