MADISON, Alabama — The day has finally come.
On Thursday, local leaders cut the ribbon to open phase 1 of the new I-565 interchange at Town Madison and Toyota Field.
This project is bringing relief to drivers in the area and is leading to further growth in the City of Madison.
The ramp is opening just in time for the Trash Pandas opening day on May 11, 2021.
Trash Pandas General Manager Garrett Fahrmann said, "When the game is over and we have 7,500 people leaving this ballpark and everybody going eastbound is going to be able to drive right out of our parking lot and on to the ramp."
The ramp will alleviate traffic congestion near the Trash Pandas stadium. It will also help reduce backups at Redstone Arsenal's Gate 9 on Research Boulevard.
"This entry ramp is not just for Town Madison," said Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong. "It's an entry ramp going to Redstone Arsenal, the number one employer for all of North Alabama, where people from seventeen counties in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee travel every day for employment providing for the United States war fighter."
Officials say the interchange will attract more retail, restaurants, and office spaces to Town Madison.
Owner of Breland Companies and Smart Living, LLC Louis Breland said, "From here forward with the interstate ramps opening phase one, Zierdt Road finishing, and as the development comes together, you're going to see investment announcements every week or every other day."
Leaders are now focusing on the next phase of the interchange.
Madison Mayor Paul Finley said, "We've got time to in turn find the best way to financially use so much of the revenues that are out there available to us, to Town Madison, to the state to make sure it's a minimal impact on our cost for our citizens but a maximum benefit for what we get out of it."
WATCH: Officials open Phase 1 of I-565 Interchange at Town Madison, Toyota Field Full Press Conference