DESOTO COUNTY, Miss. — The final stretch of the new Interstate 269 officially opened Friday in DeSoto County, Mississippi.
The new roadway is expected to help alleviate traffic troubles in the Mid-South.
It will take drivers from I-55 near Hernando, northeast through DeSoto County, and then north through Shelby County, connecting to I-40 in Arlington.
I-269 also connects with Interstate 69, which heads toward Tunica.
Mike Tagert, MDOT's northern division commissioner, says the creation of I-269 was the largest construction project in the state of Mississippi over the last several years.
"Today is really a celebratory day. This has been a long time coming. This project has been in the works for 20 plus years."
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 10 a.m. at the Getwell Road interchange. It was packed with state and local politicians. Along with Melanie Melugin and her two children, 8-year-old Noah and 7-year-old Amelia.
"We thought it would be really good for the kids to learn about infrastructure and how important things like this are," she said.
The new interstate is helping to connect farmers and markets that are spread throughout the area. As well as families like Melugin's.
"There's a convenience factor. But this will also make our community and the entire region much safer too, because when we put big trucks on bigger routes it takes those big trucks off of local streets," Tagert said.
The project in total cost about $640 million.
The red line in the map below shows the new section of I-269.