(Hardeman County, TN) When's the last time you heard of the government finishing a project ahead of schedule?
Well, it happened in Hardeman County, Tenn., where the state finished widening a three-and-a-half mile section of Highway 64 seven months ahead of schedule.
When completed across Tennessee, the project will mean faster, smoother travel, and could also mean good economic news for local businesses.
Monday morning, there was a ribbon cutting on Highway 64, east of Bolivar, Tenn.
The state's goal of widening Highway 64 across the entire southern half of Tennessee is now three-and-a-half miles closer to reality.
"It goes from Memphis to Chattanooga, about a $1.2 billion project. And we've been working on it for almost 28 years," said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.
Highway 64 is now four-laned through Hardeman County, and officials hope the improved roadway will new business to the area.
"Hardeman County is growing. The infrastructure and roads is an important part, economically for all of us," said Hardeman County Mayor Willie Spencer.
At the Route 64 restaurant, a local gathering spot, folks who routinely use the highway give the new widened stretch a thumbs up.
"I'm pleased. I went all the way to Savannah, Tennessee on Saturday. It's completed all the way to there. I don't know how much farther it'll go, but I'm pleased with that," said Hardeman County resident Marvin Williams
"I live out that way. Of course I'm especially glad to have a four-lane road out there. Cause old 64 was pretty narrow," said Hardeman County resident John Worley.
But Monday's ceremony was bittersweet for Pat Plunk.
Her husband Scotty, who was director of TDOT road construction in West Tennessee, died from cancer in 2011.
It was his dream to see this final part of Highway 64 completed in Hardeman County, a stretch of roadway that is ow dedicated to his memory.
"I would have given anything for him to be here today to see this. Because it would have thrilled his soul," said Pat Plunk.
It cost $37 million to four-lane the now completed three-and-a-half mile stretch of Highway 64.