GREENSBORO, N.C. — By Monday afternoon, the countless cones will be gone and traffic will be flowing on all 49 miles of the Greensboro Urban Loop.
The project has been decades in the making.
The last four-mile stretch of the urban loop will open after a brief ceremony Monday morning.
The last portion of the project will connect US-29 to Elm Street.
"It’s going to make it a lot shorter and the traffic will be a whole lot less too," said Karen Hopkins.
Those who drive through the Gate City are looking forward to a shorter and faster commute.
"It’s part of the reason why we moved to Lake Jeanette. We knew that over time. We would get great road systems to help us get to wherever we needed to go in Greensboro," said Chip Roth.
Business owners along Elm Street are looking forward to welcoming new guests but are also hopeful for less traffic congestion.
"Especially at 5 o’clock when everybody is getting off work, it’s a traffic jam. I can barely get out of the parking lot here," said Riham Abdelwahed, owner of M&R Ice Cream.
The owner of M&R Ice cream says the congestion has also impacted her ability to hire.
Once the loop is open, she is optimistic that will make a difference.
"I think a lot of it has to do with the traffic. Hopefully, when the project is gone, even new people that are coming through this way [they] can actually see that we have the hiring signs," said Abdelwahed.
"We’ve been waiting for a very long time and you know it’s finally happening," said Ruchi Khanna, co-owner of At Elm Street Grill.
They are looking forward to the additional exposure, less than a quarter mile from the project.
"Our parking lot is packed Fridays, and Saturdays and the weekends are big. You know it will be easy access in for the cars to leave our parking lot and go straight to the highway," said Khanna.
Even those who have had a hand in the project for years are looking forward to hearing cars whizzing by on the freshly poured concrete.
All while closing the book on a project that will finally come full circle after decades of planning and construction.
“There’s not many times we get to open a loop like this, so I think the public will really see the hard work of a lot of folks, contractors. I can’t even start to name the number of people who have worked on this over the last 30, 40, 50 years, it’s been huge," said Wright Archer, the Division 7 Engineer with the NCDOT.
Shortly after an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting, all lanes of the loop will open, just in time for the evening commute.
NCDOT is encouraging anyone driving on or around the new 4-mile stretch to be patient.
Also, be aware of the changes in traffic merging onto US-29 as well as new traffic patterns and stoplights on new exit ramps.