DURHAM, N.C. — The Durham community is celebrating the opening of the East End Connector in Durham.

It opens Thursday afternoon and connects the Durham Freeway with U.S. Highway 70 near Holloway Street.

The department held a ribbon cutting ceremony with Durham city and county leaders Thursday to celebrate the new stretch of highway.

Durham leaders say this will relieve congestion on the Durham Freeway and U.S. 15-501 along with several neighborhood streets.

County commissioner Brenda Howerton said it’ll also bring more money to Durham and neighboring communities.

“The potential economic benefit from providing a beltway to help our residents travel from one side of town to another is going to be so incredibly great,” Howerton said.

It’s been talked about for decades, became a serious priority for the state more than 20 years ago and construction started in 2015.

NCDOT chief operations officer Joey Hopkins talked about the longer-than-expected process of finishing the connector.

“It took time to work out utility relocations, construction impacts to neighborhoods and local streets and coordination with the railroad companies,” Hopkins said.

The department tells CBS 17 it has notified navigation companies like Apple and Google maps but it might take time for you to see it reflected on your GPS.