DUPONT, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) A major construction project in northeastern Pennsylvania is finished more than three years after it started. The Wilkes-Barre Scranton Airport Interchange Project cost tens of millions of dollars and is much more than just an improvement in transportation.
With a ceremonial snip of a red ribbon Wednesday morning on Navy Way Road, local and state officials marked the opening a new, one mile access road which completes the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Airport Interchange Project. “It’s a fantastic day when we can see our investment,” said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards. She added that the $43 million project that also included new ramps and roundabouts was a priority in Pennsylvania to improve traffic, safety and economic growth in this corner of the commonwealth. “It’s increasing the tax base here. It’s providing good paying, high paying jobs here.” Ms. Richards cited improved access to both Grimes and Center Point Industrial Parks in the Greater Pittston area.
A new Dupont DPW truck led the ceremonial first ride down the road that now connects Terminal and Commerce Roads. Dupont borough will maintain Navy Way Road. Rep. Michael Carroll, (D) 118th District, acknowledged that by saying, “The commitment that was made by the people here in Greater Pittston is to the benefit of all people in northeastern Pennsylvania.”
Some of the first drivers to use the road appreciate the access. Lisa Paradise of Moscow who works at the nearby FedEx complex said, “This will probably cut a good ten minutes off my route.” Retiree Jake Twardowski of Dupont added, “This will be a plus for everybody and it’s going to open up this industry, this park.”
While officials say this road will be a big asset to the industrial parks, the airport expects big benefits, too. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport Executive Director Carl Beardsley said while the road improves access for airport passengers, the land surrounding it brings development opportunities. “If we’re able to develop this property… put businesses here, employees here that all helps the community, not just the airport.”
The project also included replacing a pedestrian bridge above Interstate 81 that connects the community of Avoca.