Many hundreds gathered Friday to celebrate the completion of a more than $600 million transportation project that, after two decades of complex work and internal doubts that it would ever be complete, finally connects Highway 58 with Interstate 5 through ý.

State and local officials gave speeches thanking the many individuals and government agencies that collaborated on the effort. Honored above all was former Rep. Bill Thomas, who in 2005 leveraged his chairmanship of the powerful House Committee on Ways and Means to secure the federal dollars that initiated the project.