RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Lawmakers, the community and state and city leaders gathered to celebrate the completion of Highway 49.

The Highway 49 project has been a longtime coming. While the expansion has had its growing pains, taking five years to complete, local business owners say they’re so excited to see the roads are clear, making for a smoother commute and more foot traffic through the businesses nearby.

The project brings an additional two lanes, making a total of six lanes for commuters.

State lawmakers who grew up in the area joined in on the ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning at the Riverwood Shopping Center.

Local businesses owners say they’re already seeing the benefit with the completion of Highway 49, a collaboration between the private and public sector and the many hands that helped bring this project to an end.

“We’re just happy to be here. Happy for all the support we get. Our city is like a family. Everybody supports each other. Even through all the craziness of 49, we were all able to make it,” said Vickie Chapman, co-owner of Tom’s Fried Pies.

The project costed $253 million in public funds, according to Transportation Commissioner Willie Simmons.

Officials with the Mississippi Department of Transportation say they’re looking forward to the next phase of the transportation project, which will extend into Simpson County.