NEW ORLEANS -- The new Wiisner Bridge opened up Friday to the surprise of many who had forgotten it would.

Jean-Michel was one of those who thought he initially had made a wrong turn to get to City Park.

"I was coming across from New Orleans East, and I was like, 'Oh God, I forgot we got to go around,'" Argentin said.

The Wisner Bridge construction project began two years ago. For some, that's a long time. Argentin had almost forgotten it was supposed to re-open.

"It says road closed but kept seeing cars going and I was like, 'Whoa! Oh my God, the bridge is opening honey the bridge is open!'" Argentin said.

City leaders cut the ribbon just before noon Friday. Now some who are seeing cars crossing are joining in with cheers.

"Having to, you know, re-route through Gentilly just to go literally right there, it was kind of out of the way. It's going to make a huge difference," Lindsey Papion, visiting from the West Bank said.

The bridge has long served as a major artery of travel. Not only does it connect residents in Lakeview and Gentilly, but it's a connector between New Orleans East and the rest of the City.

"It's been a long journey, and we stopped coming to the park because of the bridge," Janie Argentin, Jean-Michele's wife said.

Some like Don Civello say it's more of a lifeline.

"When we have flood issues here, the only way we can get out of here is the overpass," Civello said.

So after two years and $19.5 million later, the Wisner Bridge is now a beautiful sight for many to behold.

"I'm pretty happy about that," Jean-Michele Argentin said.

The new bridge also has protected lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists. The project was mostly funded by federal dollars, with contributions from state and local agencies.