(Rene had the lead video cameo, too)

After 13 1/2 months of construction, Knoxville drivers are cruising the interstate, and neighbors are hearing it.

A lot of classic car owners lined up early to be part of the grand opening, and to be the first to drive that stretch of Interstate 40.

A procession of cars paraded down I-40 about 2:20 Friday afternoon.

Rene Harger drove his Studebaker to take a first look at the new road.

"The nice pavement, the nice wide open views. And it was always kind of cut up a little, and it was always confusing, people getting off, people getting on. It was one of those malfunction junctions," Harger said.

He noticed what he described as the art deco architecture at the exits, something drivers can appreciate from both directions.

"I own a low rider," said Charles Dean, who was driving in the front of the opening group of cars. "And owning a low rider, you have to watch the road, potholes and all, obstacles and all. And it was really smooth."

Drivers on the road like it, but what about neighbors who live next to the new stretch of Interstate 40, behind new sound walls?

"The noise was pretty bad before the wall, before they started this construction," Gerald Huggins said.

He and his neighbors in the 4th and Gill area put up with construction noise--but no traffic--for more than a year. Chirping birds dominated the sound Friday morning. And Huggins could still hear them over a subtle drone of traffic in the afternoon.

"Right now, the sound is a lot better than it was," Huggins said.

One 4th and Gill neighbor claimed a seat on top of the sound wall for a panoramic view. It's a view she used to see from her back yard.

"I miss it. So that's why I'm up here on the wall," Susan Schottin said. "Someday I want to build a deck right here that comes up to the wall, and then I can come out in the morning and see it again because it is beautiful, and they did a beautiful job on it."