NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- Driving on the Peninsula has gotten just a little bit smoother.

Government and transportation officials celebrated the completion of the first part of the Interstate 64 widening project on Friday morning.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe made remarks at the ceremonial ribbon-cutting event.

"We had to do something about 64," McAuliffe said, and noted that back during his campaign for governor he found the I-64 corridor to be too congested.

Construction on the first segment from Jefferson Avenue to Yorktown Road (Exit 247) began in September 2015.

“Families were angry, couldn't see their kids play a ball game, and to cut this ribbon on time and on budget is extraordinary,” Governor McAuliffe says.

The first part of the project allowed one travel and one shoulder lane to be added to the inside of the roadway in each direction to one of the most heavily traveled areas on the Peninsula.

I-64 from Jefferson avenue to Yorktown Road is now six lanes in both directions.

Governor McAuliffe and Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne says while the project is all about reducing congestion and improving traffic in Hampton Roads, it's also about economic development.

“You can't bring businesses to an area that's congested,” Governor McAuliffe says. “More people are going to move here we have to look at alternatives, it just can't be roads it has to be light rail, other avenues of moving people around this corridor.”

Next are segments two and three of the I-64 widening project, ultimately widening 64 all the way to just west of Newman Road in York County. In the end, that's 21-miles widened.

Officials said the first stage was completed on time and on budget.

You can read more about the I-64 Widening Project here.