MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been years in the making: a direct connection from Highway 99 to UC Merced.
On Thursday, phase two of the Campus Parkway Corridor Project started off with a groundbreaking ceremony.
City of Merced Public Information Officer Mike North said, "It is really going to improve connectivity. It's going to improve access to a lot of our local communities. It's going to improve access to UC Merced. It's going to improve economic development. This is a good day for us, and I cannot wait until it is done."
Currently, when you take the Mission Avenue/Campus Parkway exit from Highway 99, you are greeted with a dead end at East Childs Avenue.
But by 2021, a traffic signal will replace stop signs, and you'll be able to keep driving making it to Highway 140.
UC Merced Vice Chancellor Ed Klotzbier said, "With this project, we are going to be a lot closer at getting our faculty, staff, students and our many guest and visitors that come to UC Merced to come up to campus."
By 2023, drivers will be able to get all the way to Yosemite Avenue ultimately to the UC Merced campus.
Nearby residents are excited about this new four-lane section.
Rosa Munoz and some of her church members came out to celebrate.
"We are very interested in the second phase of the project. This is going to allow us access to the acreage that we have, that we've been waiting for and praying for, so earnestly to be able to, to have access to build our church."
The cost of road construction is around $100 million.
This project is just a small section of a larger one, The Merced Loop System, that will circle the city of Merced and connect it to surrounding communities.
Project to improve traffic into UC Merced underway