Standing in the middle of the brand-new Route 202 Parkway, State Rep. Kathy Watson (R., Bucks) held up a photocopy of a nearly 60-year-old newspaper with a front-page article in which Doylestown residents urged elected officials to build a Route 202 bypass.
"Times have changed, people have changed, and we're lucky that some of them lived to see this to completion," she said. "This is the people's parkway."
Local and state officials gathered Monday to cut the ribbon on a $200 million parkway that has been discussed for decades but reached completion just this month. Bicycle riders and pedestrians have used the parkway since September, when special lanes opened to the public.
On Monday afternoon, a procession of classic cars - from 1930s roadsters to a pristine 1980 DeLorean - were the first to drive on the new road. It was set to open to the public later Monday night.
The 8.4-mile stretch is between Welsh Road in Montgomery Township and Route 611 in Doylestown.
Dignitaries on hand for the ribbon-cutting included Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who called the event "a great day for Bucks and Montgomery Counties," and praised the efforts of local lawmakers who pushed state officials to adopt the project.
"It's been a very long, hard journey," he said. "For decades, commuters have had to struggle with frustrating traffic due to inadequate roads."
The road is expected to carry up to 28,000 cars a day by 2020, and officials say it will help clear congestion on one of the area's busiest thoroughfares.
Cawley also praised the collaboration of local and state officials with community members. Residents from 11 municipalities participated in a wide-ranging task force on the road.
"They came up with something rather novel in government, a solution," he said to laughter.
Not everyone in attendance was pleased. Philadelphia resident Larry Shaeffer, who grew up in Doylestown, stood near local officials and in full view of television cameras carrying a sign reading "This road is a $300 million scam."
He said he suspected the road cost more than officials were reporting and said he felt it was "built to add more value to land," not decrease congestion.
"We don't need more roads. We need less cars," he said.
Still, most of those there said they were looking forward to using the road. Michael McAtee, the bridge project manager with Urban Engineers, which helped design the parkway, said his brother lives in Montgomeryville and works in Doylestown, and that his own efforts on the parkway will cut his brother's commute by 15 minutes every morning.
"I started on this job in 1999. It feels great to see it come to fruition," he said.
Nearby, Urban Engineers president Ed D'Alba, who toted his collapsible bike to the event, said he was happy to have worked on the project and to have contributed to the bike trail running alongside. D'Alba and his sons, Jonathan and Dave, who also work for the company, are avid bikers.
"Once people see how well this works, they'll build more roads like this," Dave D'Alba said. "I don't own a car, so any time a roadway opens that gives me room to bike, it's a good thing."