That was according to city leaders who gathered Tuesday to ceremoniously break ground on construction work that will lengthen Pepper Avenue over a Lytle Creek tributary and to the 210 Freeway.
The city penciled in $15 million for the project. It was funded through the now-shuttered redevelopment agency and is expected to be completed in July.
Councilwoman Deborah Robertson said the project will benefit surrounding communities as well as Rialto.
"Because once we have this constructed, we'll have an opportunity to develop commercial and other activities around the interchange, which will be beneficial to everybody in the region," she said.
Brea-based Griffith Co. will undertake the extension work, which is expected to gobble up more than $7 million of the $15 million budgeted for the project.
Much of the remaining dollars set aside for the extension have gone toward preserving the habitat of two endangered species - the woolly star plant and the San Bernardino kangaroo rat.
The city worked on habitat preservation - which caused the cost to soar - with U.S. Fish & Wildlife officials and the California Department of Fish and Game, as well as the the Army Corps of Engineers.
Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, said the preservation work was a costly obstacle to getting the project ready for construction.
"I'm not a fan of the kangaroo rat," Baca said. "I think that we should de-list it (as an endangered species) and not have to worry about it, because of the expense to the public."
Story said the city has been working for years on the project with Caltrans and San Bernardino Associated Governments, the regional transportation planning agency for San Bernardino County.
He said once the extension is completed next summer, SanBAG will begin work on building the on and off-ramps.
Mayor Grace Vargas said the project is long overdue, but worth it.
"I think it's the greatest thing that's happening to Rialto," she said.
Reach Josh via email, call him at 909-386-3894, or find him on Twitter at @RialtoNow.