BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- "This is like a dream come true, for many in Warren County," says Gary Dillard, Chairman of the Intermodal Transportation Authority, which is the authority responsible for Bowling Green's Transpark.
He smiles during Thursday morning's ribbon cutting, celebrating the completion of phase one of the "Interstate 65 to U.S. 31-W Connector Project."
The roadway opens a new I-65 interchange at mile marker 30 and a four lane connector road to U.S. 68. The second phase, planned to open in 2018, will create a two lane road from U.S. 68 to 31-W.
"It not only is a new opportunity for the Transpark," he adds, "but it has also opened up all northern Warren County."
The ribbon cutting drew a large crowd as members of the public, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and community and national leaders drove on the interchange for the first time.
"Here we finally get to celebrate this great interchange," says U.S Senator and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, after talking about the project's first developmental stages in 2003.
"It completely opens up access to the Transpark from the Interstate, and it's a big development for Warren County and surrounding counties. Judge Buchanon deserves a lot of credit for this-- this was his dream, and today the dream comes true," Senator McConnell adds.
Talking about the new connector route, Wes Watt, the Public Information Officer for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet District 3 in Bowling Green, says, "What that will do is, that will provide front-door access to the Kentucky Transpark which will take a lot of the commercial vehicles-- a lot of the large semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles-- away from exit 28, as well as take them off of U.S. 31-W Louisville Road. That will open it up for commuters and residents in that area."
For those working at the Transpark, "It's a day they've all been waiting for for a while, and they're all very happy. They recognize that it's going to cut significant time off their travel time to and from work , and they're very happy about that," says Keith Gameson, General Manager of Magna in Bowling Green.
Gameson says more than 300 trucks drive into the facility every day, as well as the 2,000 employees coming to and from work on a regular basis.
For many, this is more than an interchange.
"I think this represents Bowling Green's commitment to continuing to grow into the future and to try to attract the best companies to come and work in the Transpark and it continues to put them in the front in not just Warren County but also in the state of Kentucky," says Gameson.
"We need jobs and opportunity for people all over our state," says Senator McConnell. "A lot of people are employed here and a lot more are going to be employed here in the coming years as a result of this marvelous project."
"This road-- this exit 30-- is built by interstate standards, so it's the best you can go with," adds Dillard.
"It's a major accomplishment and will have a major positive impact on the community," says Watt.
According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, construction for the connector project began in 2014 and cost $66.8 million dollars.