Never mind that cars have been driving on the freshly paved lanes for days now.
officially reopened this morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by city, county and state officials.
"Pearl Road South is a reality," Mayor Tom Perciak declared shortly before opening a wider roadway that is expected to better serve retailers and commuters, improve drainage and give better access to undeveloped industrial land.
Police stopped traffic briefly while a series of orange construction barrels were linked together with green and white ribbons, which were cut by Perciak, State Sen. Tom Patton, State Rep. Mike Dovilla, County ExecutiveEd FitzGerald and others.
Crews have spent more than a year widening the road from where it narrowed at the post office to about 700 feet south of Drake Road. Most of the section now includes two lanes each direction and a middle turn lane.
Perciak thanked the engineers for their work, but said Pearl Road is not finished.
"We've got to go up the hill," he said. "Your work isn't finished yet."
Design work has already started on phase 2, which would widen Pearl to the city limits at Boston Road. Strongsville is still trying to secure money for that project.
FitzGerald told the crowd of about 100 people that "it took local leadership" to get the long-planned widening done.
"People in Strongsville have a vision of what they want their community to be," he said.
He added that the county is committed to helping get phase 2 done.
"We're going to help you push it up the hill," FitzGerald told Perciak.
Patton called Perciak "the Energizer bunny" for his relentless efforts to get the project done.