DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – On Thursday, drivers will be able to take the new East End Connector highway for the first time.

The East End Connector project is about a one mile stretch of road that connects NC Highway 147 to U.S. 70 near Holloway Street.

“It will be a real quick way to get to the southern side of town to the northern side of town,” said Liam Shannon, a resident engineer for NCDOT.

Shannon said it will create a better connection between Interstate 40 and Interstate 85. 

“It’s more direct than taking Highway 147 through downtown and to the west side of town,” Shannon said. 

CBS 17 was able to drive on the new highway on Tuesday and found that without traffic and driving 65 miles an hour, you can get from Highway 147 to U.S. 70 in less than two minutes.

“You’ll find the moment you’re on a new road, you’re off of it pretty quick,” Shannon said.  

Whereas, if you take the back roads or another route, it will take you 8 to 10 minutes, or longer.

After years of delays due to issues with old infrastructure in east Durham, NCDOT officials said the project is complete and the highway will open to drivers sometime in the afternoon on Thursday.

“It’s been talked about for a long time, a lot of people were wondering what was taking it so long,” said Khedron Mims, a Durham business owner and driver. 

Mims said he is glad to see it is finally opening and he is excited about the new travel route. 

“I just really think with Durham growing the way that it has, we need a connector to take people to and from where they need to go, and in shorter distances,” Mims said. 

The connector will also create a quicker way for people in north Durham to get to Research Triangle Park, where 7,500 jobs have been created since 2020.

The East End connector will open to the public for travel sometime after the ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday that’s scheduled for 10 a.m.

NCDOT officials are asking drivers to take it easy, as this will be a new interchange that drivers on the Durham Freeway and U.S. 70 will need to get used to. 

The estimated cost of the project is $142 million.