After years of orange cones and barricades, Route 173 in Machesney Park is back open.
All those cautions were for a major, million dollar construction project on Route 173.
The project was announced in February 2014. As each season changed, more construction was announced, backing up areas from from Alpine road to I-90.
Many businesses have said they suffered during the construction, but officials have maintained that the end product would eventually make the economy stronger.
Today, those officials came together to celebrate the grand opening of the new Route 173. They say the end of the construction means a brighter future for the area.
"I can remember driving through here on the old two lane road when there wasn't much out here and it wasn't real safe to drive on," Kevin Marcheck from the Illinois Department of Transportation said Wednesday. "This is a real big improvement."
Officials cut the ribbon next to the new road Wednesday morning. Community officials from all over the Rockford area joined in the celebration, and they say they look forward to what the new road offers both drivers and residents, like bringing new business to Machesney Park.
"We've had some 37 new businesses come into this area in the last 3 years here, so that's just a minor level of what will happen now that it's open all the way to 90," Machesney Park Mayor Jerry Bolin says.
Mayor Bolin also says the project will help the area gain more manufacturing business, with two new business districts opening at the Route 173 and I-90 interchange.