GARNER, N.C. (WNCN) — The North Carolina Department of Transportation announced Wednesday morning that all lanes have reopened on Interstate 40 between Interstate 440 and the U.S. 70 Bypass.

The NCDOT called the reopening of the eastbound and westbound lanes “a major milestone.” Construction began in Nov. 2021 to widen the lanes between exits 301 and 309 on I-40.

The NCDOT said crews opened most of the eastbound side on Monday night and finished opening the westbound side Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.

The new traffic pattern provides two additional lanes in each direction and eliminates a bottleneck that existed where three lanes reduced to two on I-40 East past the Business 70 exit in Garner.

The reopening will benefit traffic, which began in a two- or three-lane pattern in 2018.

“It’s been much better now that they’ve actually opened the lanes,” said delivery driver Eric Schnabel.

CBS 17 caught up with Dwight Price as he was heading to his sister at a rehab center in Raleigh.

He’s on I-40 every day and he tells CBS 17 having the extra lanes means less time on the road and more time with family.

“Oh, it’s great. I can get over to the rehab center in, like, 18 minutes,” Price said.

While the nine-mile stretch is open to traffic, NCDOT said the final phase is not finished. Construction work continues at the Jones Sausage Road interchange, U.S. 70 Business interchange and the Rock Quarry Road overpass.

Lane closures will take place on the new stretch for the next several months as crews install the final layer of asphalt and pavement makers.

Drivers are urged to be mindful of crews working close to the traffic lanes.

The final four miles of the widening project from U.S. 70 to Cornwallis Road and the overhaul of the N.C. 42 interchange are scheduled to be complete in late summer 2024.