“Wednesday gives us a reason to celebrate a little,” said John Powell, Independence’s director of public works.
Powell and other city officials will gather at 11 a.m. Wednesday to officially open the new Jackson Drive with a ribbon cutting ceremony on the west side of Jackson Drive between 37th Terrace and the railroad bridge.
Powell said the new four-lane street provides a major north and south street for motorists and gives direct access to Centerpoint Medical Center on 39th Street.
Construction on the road, between 37th Terrace and R.D. Mize Road, started in February 2008. It opened to traffic June 5.
“This is an important road for Independence and I’m glad it’s near completion,” Powell said. “It’s gives quicker and safer access to the hospital and to the businesses and residences in the eastern part of Independence.”
Powell said new bridges built over the Kansas City Southern Railroad tracks and Crackerneck Creek were also part of the project, as well as a new traffic signal and turn lanes built at the R.D. Mize Road intersection. He added ongoing work along the sides of the road may close one traffic lane during construction.
Construction cost related to the project was $12 million and was funded through the development agreement from the Centerpoint Medical Center project. The contractor was Radmacher Brothers Excavating. 
The project is the first extension to Jackson Drive. Another project will extend Jackson Drive north to Missouri 78 by the end of next year, Powell said.
“This is the first section of Jackson Drive that we’re working on that as of now is built up to R.D. Mize Road,” Powell said. “We’re also working on getting it built from R.D. Mize Road up to 78 Highway by (Metropolitan Community College-Blue River). That should be finished by next year.”