The all-new Piper Road extension opens today at noon, a week ahead of schedule and 60 percent below budget.

No fanfare is planned for opening day. That is scheduled in the form of a ribbon cutting, March 21 at 4 p.m.

Located near the Punta Gorda Airport, the extension is 1.5 miles starting from the existing Piper Road and ending at the Regent Road intersection with U.S. 17.

It cost $8.8 million instead of the budgeted $22.4 million, said county spokesman Brian Gleason. Most of the project is paid for by the penny sales tax voted in by residents in 2014.

Construction began in August 2017.

Included in the project is a 12-inch water main under the roadway, an 8-foot wide sidewalk and storm water management systems.

The road is expected to reduce traffic in the residential neighborhood off Golf Course Boulevard. By connecting to U.S. 17 near the Interstate 75 entrance, the new roadway also provides quicker access to regions both north and south. It is also part of the economic development of business near the growing airport.

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