HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A major local highway expansion project is finished a year ahead of its original schedule.

PennDOT and regional officials held a ribbon cutting Thursday for the opening of an expanded Route 424, also called the Hazleton Beltway. It’s a nearly 1.1-mile-long extension.

The project created a four-lane road from the I-81 exit 141 Interchange to Humboldt Industrial Park.

The extension provides workers and delivery drivers access in and out of the industrial park to the more than 60 businesses there.

Route 924 had been the only access to the park until now.

“It’s probably one of the better things to happen in the town, especially to relieve the traffic on Route 924 and the accidents that happen all the time out here,” said Dylon Copes of Beaver Meadows.

“The traffic here because of the growth, the economic activity is real. The traffic safety challenges were real, and the completion of this road ahead of schedule really helps greater Hazleton in a significant way,” said Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Mike Carroll.

Some additional work on the project will be completed in 2024, including bridge deck work, paving, and additional traffic signal and signage installation.