Saskatoon's newest bridge has opened to traffic.
Shortly after 8 p.m. CST Wednesday barricades were removed and the signal was given for vehicles to make their way across the South Saskatchewan River using Circle Drive.
Drivers honked their horns and passengers waved as they drove west.
Earlier on Wednesday, for opening day ceremonies, the span was opened to a crowd of people on foot and bicycles.
Over 1,000 people strolled over the Circle Drive South Bridge in a parade to celebrate the completion of the project.
"I haven't seen a bridge built in my whole lifetime so this is the first one and I am pretty excited about that," Maryanne Zuzak said Wednesday afternoon. "We just wanted to be one of the first to cross this bridge."
The bridge is part of a $300 million road project that the city hopes will help reduce traffic congestion on other routes in Saskatoon.
"This bridge it has tremendous economic advantages for us," Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison said during the formal ceremonies for the bridge opening. "Some talk about millions, tens of millions of dollars. The money invested in this project today, it is for businesses and it's for citizens."
The new six-lane bridge gives commuters a direct route linking the east and west sides of the Saskatoon.
It was supposed to be open in September of 2012 but was delayed, according to officials, because weather slowed construction.
Bev Jacobson and her family live on the west side of Saskatoon. She says they have been waiting patiently for the bridge to open.
"I work on the East side and my son goes to school over here," Jacobson said. "We come across the city every day, so we have to do the 20th [to] 22nd Street and get into the congestion right there on Idylwyld, so this one will be really good,:
'I'm all pumped up. It's a great day.'— Mayor Don Atchison
Ella Hornsby said she has been driving in a giant, congested loop every day because she had no way to go directly across the city from her east side home to Saskatoon's downtown.
"They should have done [this] years ago, I think," Hornsby said. "This way you can get on the freeway and just go! Which will be just great."
The overall project includes five new interchanges, ten kilometres of freeway, three railway interchanges, and pedestrian and cyclist pathways. The new interchanges at Idylwyld Drive, Lorne Avenue, Valley Road, 11th Street West also open Wednesday. The interchange at Preston Avenue South is expected to open in the fall.
The cost of the work was shared between the federal government ($96 million), the provincial government ($98.5 million), the City of Saskatoon ($100 million) and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park ($200,000).
The city says officials are still negotiating late penalties with the contractors.