Memphis political officials, including Mayor A C Wharton and Councilman Harold Collins, attended the groundbreaking Thursday afternoon for planned improvements to Elvis Presley Boulevard.
Collins helped secure $43 million for the project, which is expected to make major infrastructure and cosmetic improvements to a three-mile stretch of the street.
The heavily traveled street runs in front of Graceland, the former home of rock `n' roll icon Elvis Presley.
MORE: Elvis Presley Blvd upgrade starts Nov 15
MORE: Memphis OKs funds for Harahan Bridge, Elvis Presley Blvd
It also runs through the Whitehaven community, where empty storefronts, drab landscaping and unsightly electrical poles have led to a decline in the appearance in sections of the neighborhood.
The project is expected to last for three years, and although it will create numerous traffic headaches at one of the top global tourist destinations, the residents of Whitehaven welcome the project and the much needed upgrade.
Officials say improvements to roadways, utilities and lighting will lure new businesses. Another goal is to make the street look better for tourists.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.