A new-and-improved College Avenue, now a four-lane boulevard east of Howell Avenue, officially reopened Friday morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The improvements, including additional lanes, sidewalks and a roundabout just west of Pennsylvania, will better connect Cudahy, Milwaukee, Oak Creek and South Milwaukee and should help stimulate economic growth in the area, local officials said.
"Today we celebrate our new, beautiful four-lane boulevard, with green landscaping, artistic murals of aviation history," said County Supervisor Pat Jursik, who represents a portion of Oak Creek and was one of the driving forces behind the construction project.
"(It's) not just a new road, but will be a gateway for economic development to the business side of the airport."
Namely, Milwaukee County officials hope the new road will benefit the development of the MKE Regional Business Park, which is emerging from the site of the former 440th Air Reserve Station at 300 E. College Ave.
"This isn't just about a new road," County Executive Chris Abele said at a program following the ribbon-cutting.
"It's about access. It's about development. Yep, it's beautiful. Yep, it's a happy day. But the way we prove that this was a worthwhile investment is that we leverage every ounce of opportunity there is to get to the purpose, which is economic development."
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which included Jursik, Abele and other elected officials, was held near a new Mitchell International Airport runway overpass.
Oak Creek Alderman Dan Jakubczyk, whose district includes College Avenue, said he was happy the road was finally open, but he worried that planes may fly lower as a result of the runway overpass and cause more noise for residents in the area.
"It's seems like it's taken forever to complete this," Jakubczyk said. "It does look beautiful.
"Being that my district is here, I'm just wondering if it's not going to cause the planes to fly lower."