The bridge that connects Lexington and Purcell is finally complete.

The State Department of Transportation are calling the July 26 reopening a “major community event.” This is because residents started having problems with the bridge about 5 1/2 years ago.

ODOT said in 2014 they found cracks. In addition, an alloy in the bridge made repairs difficult.

At one point the bridge was closed for emergency repairs making travel between the two towns extremely challenging.

“Some of the detours, you know, you could stand on one end of the bridge in Lexington and see your school on the other end in Purcell,” said ODOT Spokeswoman Terri Angier. “But to get to it you had to take a detour that was 40 miles long.”

The new structure took 325,000 hours for crews to finish and cost $38 million.

The two-year replacement project now features four lanes instead of the original two. The bridge also has static improvements like matching colors and historical plaques on either side of the structure.

The bridge was also completed several months early. ODOT said that was a feat that their engineers see as historical. ODOT said typically these projects take much longer.

“The good news is we were able to deliver this project,” said Angier. “Something that would normally have taken a decade or two, we were able to get it ready in three years and finish it in two.”

Crews will be in the area working on side projects, like sidewalks. ODOT is warning drivers to still drive with caution.

The reopening ceremony starts at 9:00 a.m., but community members are invited to come walk the bridge at 8:30 a.m.