ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A project years in the making is finally connecting the Sunport directly to Broadway Boulevard. Bernalillo County Engineering Project Manager, Rodrigo Eichwald said the county’s plan is to ease drivers into using the new extension with a soft opening. “Everything was ready to go. There was no reason to not have the road open until the ribbon cutting. So, it opened and they removed everything so people can start using this new access to the freeway.”

The bridge connects the South Valley directly to the Sunport, giving travelers easier access to the airport. The project cost more than $20 million and has been in development for more than a decade.

Bernalillo County also noted that the extension to Broadway Blvd. should help relieve traffic and create alternate routes for drivers if construction ever needs to happen on nearby Gibson Boulevard. Some drivers said they are glad for the new option connecting them to the South Valley. As an added bonus, Eichwald said the South Valley has been essentially landlocked prior to Friday’s unveiling preventing Sunport travelers from stimulating the South Valley.

“It just kind of exciting having another access to the freeway and we are hoping for development and a brighter future for the area. We are hoping for an economic boost.” In May, vandals defaced the bridge extension before it was complete, Eichwald said crews have since covered up the graffiti and are working to repaint the area over the next few weeks.

Come Monday, Eichwald said traffic lights at Sunport Blvd will be synced up to traffic signals at Broadway and Second Street. The county will hold a ceremony on June 21, and unveil an art sculpture.