NORWALK - The Merritt Parkway was celebrated Sunday on the 70th anniversary of its opening.

Covering Greenwich through Norwalk, the thoroughfare gave drivers a peek at what it would become ? a roughly 34-mile parkway.

?A lot of people, when the parkway first opened, this was their Sunday drive,? says Jill Smyth, executive director of the Merritt Parkway Conservancy.

?It brought people to the rural part of Connecticut and it really changed the face of Fairfield County.?

Before the parkway opened all drivers had available to them was Route 1, and historians say it was dangerous and mired in accidents.

When the section of Merritt Parkway that runs from the New York border to Norwalk opened in 1938, there was no I-95 and it provided drivers with a choice for traveling.