ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A new road in Albemarle County hopes to ease traffic on Route 29 while connecting local businesses, neighbors, and jobs. 

On Thursday, the UVA Foundation broke ground on an extension for Lewis and Clark Drive, which will connect it and the UVA Research Park to Airport Road. The foundation says the $6 million extension will help bridge the gap between the research park and the neighboring communities.

"It connects members of the community in the park working here and residents in and around the neighborhood to have access to Hollymead Town Center and access to the companies and jobs located in the park," said Deborah Van Eersel of the UVA Foundation.

At the ground breaking ceremony, the UVA Foundation said the road was always part of the research park's Master Plan, but when the park was constructed in the 1990s, the foundation only built the first half - which it says was all the park needed. Now, it's finishing the second half, which the foundation says also opens the door for new residential and commercial development.

"Our research park is a tremendous research/intellectual asset, but it's also a great economic asset," said UVA Foundation Board Chair Kevin Fay. "So, the extension of Lewis and Clark Drive allows us to fulfill the dream of the research community in terms of not just research, but other development aspects, residential possibly, and other items coming down the road."

Albemarle County supervisors say the road also opens up an alternative route for commuters, which they hope will ease traffic on Route 29. UVA Foundation officials say the road extension should be done by March of 2020.