HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A four-lane expansion, new bridge, sidewalks, and wider lanes: Who wouldn't be singing praises?
Hallelujah! Closed since November 2013, Old Madison Pike between Cummings Research Park and Slaughter Road is finally opened to the motoring, walking and cycling public.
In a week absolutely wrought with global holy significance, for folks right here deprived of the ability to travel Old Madison Pike for nearly two years, today was literally like a religious experience.
"It is a big day for both the city of Huntsville and city of Madison," said Johnny Harris, Director of the Alabama Department of Transportation.
"Hallelujah, amen!" said Madison Mayor Troy Trulock.
Of course everyone gave thanks in their own way:
"Hallelujah, brother. It's open," said some of the crew members.
"It's close to my house it's very good," said a member of the Chinese Christian Church.
The festivities started with the public joining Mayor Tommy Battle, city department heads, and reps from ALDOT for a Healthy Huntsville walk on the newly constructed section of roadway. But let's face it, this may as well have been a pilgrimage.
"Victory," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle.
"I appreciate the Lord washing the asphalt off for us today," Madison County Commission Chairman Dale Strong said, referring to the rain.
"As you know our citizens are excited. They can get to and from their shopping, to and from work. It is just fantastic for everybody so I'm excited to be out here today to say Hallelujah, it's here," Madison Mayor Trulock said.
"Now do you think we're going to have people speaking in tongues and falling out here today?" WHNT News 19 asked.
"Probably, yes. They are so excited I think that's exactly what'll happen," Trulock said.
Now, not to marry church and state but this momentous occasion brings political implications of Biblical proportions as well.
"Oh yeah I want to say hallelujah and praise Jesus and praise the state and praise Mayor Battle for picking up my campaign slogan from 1988 and runnin' and jumpin' with this deal," said Huntsville's Jackie Reed.
"And Troy, I didn't tell you the real reason we did this bridge is so that Miss Reed could get to your council meetings quicker," Mayor Battle joked. "Miss Reed we want to tell you your work is finished with the city of Huntsville. You have accomplished everything. We are totally in line. We're going to send you to brighter greener pastures right down the road here."
One of the biggest blessings from all this? The project was actually completed a month ahead of schedule, believe it or not.