CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- A project that has been in the works since 2019 is finally coming to fruition.

Officials broke ground Monday on the Ashley River Crossing project, a bridge that will provide a dedicated pathway for pedestrians and cyclists to go between Charleston and West Ashley.

It was a packed house Monday morning for the groundbreaking.

“I can only imagine what it’s going to look like when the bridge is constructed and open,” Executive Director of Charleston Moves, Katie Zimmerman said.

It’s a nearly 23-million-dollar project, and some say it will be worth every penny.

“This is a major piece of the East Coast Greenway that goes from Maine all the way down to Florida. The fact that this is moving forward is such a big deal for connectivity,” Associate Administrator for Highway Policy and External Affairs, Keith Benjamin said.

Almost half of the county’s population lives in West Ashley, but there has been no safe pedestrian or bicycle connection between West Ashley and the peninsula.

“I know people are wondering why its taking so long,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman says the project was prolonged largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is now full steam ahead.

“That bridge, when it’s open is going to be so crowded full of people,” he said.

Cyclists in the Lowcountry, like Michael McSween, say this is going to be a “game changer” for their daily commute.

“I’ve been waiting for this bridge for 15 years,” McSween said. “Tremendous amount of effort. It’s great to see all the different organizations coming together in government.”

Officials said the project is expected to take two to three years to complete.