FOX CROSSING (WLUK) -- It took four decades, but a major highway interchange in the Fox Valley is now up and running.
The ramps from northbound Interstate 41 to westbound Hwy.10 and eastbound Hwy. 10 to northbound I-41 opened on Saturday.
Gov. Scott Walker helped launch the ceremonial completion of the project.
This project had been a long time coming and is a huge regional milestone, one that officials say will improve safety and make traveling through the area much more convenient for drivers.
"People heading east have not had the ability to go north on 41; people going north on 41 have not had that ability to go west on 10. As of Saturday, we have that ability," Fox Crossing Town Chairman Dale Youngquist said.
Now, those traveling from the Waupaca area will no longer have to exit Hwy. 10 and take city streets to get to the Fox River Mall, as had been the case for decades.
The opening of these ramps is a part of the 441 Tri-County Project. It'll be completed a year earlier than projected and with money to spare -- in the neighborhood of $10 million.
With those extra resources, we may just be seeing more events like this around the area.
"A big ‘Thank You’ to the staff from the Department of Transportation, and all the contractors and others who were a part of this, because they did it ahead of the schedule we'd had, and they did it under budget, so we can now apply that money to other bridge and road projects all across the region," Walker said.
On Monday, Outagamie County officials approved the draft of a resolution for 41 that would expand the stretch of highway between Appleton and Green Bay from four lanes to six.
Although county officials are expressing concern that projects like Foxconn are skipping to the front of the line, Walker disagreed.
"We're actually able to free up money to do more, so the attacks we get are completely misleading, if not outright lies that people say about that,” Walker said. “Actually, by federal dollars going in I-94, that freed up more dollars for other projects."
The new construction is just the first phase of the Tri-County Project, which is expected to be completed in 2019.
The entire project includes expanding Hwy. 10-441, straightening some curves and rebuilding a number of interchanges.