TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — A major road project set to begin in Tuscaloosa will take years, but once complete City Councilman Norman Crow says it will be a game changer.

Upgrades to McWright’s Ferry Road are expected to take over two years to build a new roadway bridge spanning North River, south of the Lake Tuscaloosa Dam Spillway. The project also includes a pedestrian bridge.

“I believe it has an economic development aspect to this because this is an area that is ripe for development,” Crow said. “But for the citizens of District 3 and for the rest of the county, I think it is a traffic congestion reliever.”

Crow says once it’s complete, drivers won’t have to travel New Watermelon Road and get caught in heavy traffic. The bridge extension also includes new lighting and wider sidewalks.

“This [expansion] will relieve that bottleneck and you will have a different outlet where you can go McWright’s Ferry Road and come out and go over the Paul Bryant Bridge in the morning and avoid some of the areas that go to the schools and to Northport that way,” Crow said.

Resident Raymond Dorton and his family have lived in a neighborhood near McWright’s Ferry Road for seven years and are thrilled about the bridge project.

“It will be a blessing to have that bridge built here,” Dorton said. “This will give us an alternate route to get in and out of here and emergency crews to get in so I think everyone in the neighborhood is excited about it.”

Construction will begin in thirty days and the work is expected to be finished in two and a half years. The project will cost $68 million to complete.