NANTICOKE — The South Valley Parkway project is only seven percent complete, but Monday’s announcement that Exit 2 has opened sent a clear message of the potential economic impact of the $83.7 million project.
State Sen. John Yudichak and Rep. Gerald Mullery Monday announced the opening of Exit 2 of the South Valley Parkway, a 3.6-mile roadway that will connect the people and commerce of Wilkes-Barre, Hanover, Nanticoke and Newport Township.
PennDOT broke ground on the South Valley Parkway in January 2016. Exit 2 is near the Wyoming Valley Country Club, the American Red Cross and the entrance to Hanover Industrial Park. The next part of the project scheduled to be completed will be the connection to Kosciusko Street in Nanticoke.
“The opening of Exit 2 of the South Valley Parkway represents a significant milestone for this historic infrastructure investment,” Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township, said. “The communities that represent the South Valley are already reaping the economic development and job creation benefits that are associated with the South Valley Parkway.”
Yudichak said “the real exciting news” about the project is that it has the potential to lock down in the neighborhood of 6,000 new jobs.
”National developers like NorthPoint Development and local companies like Colours, Inc. have invested millions of dollars in the footprint of the South Valley Parkway, creating thousands of jobs in the process,” Yudichak said.
Brent Miles, vice president of economic development at NorthPoint Development, said one of the reasons the company chose to invest more than $100 million in the South Valley was due to the construction of the parkway and the access it provides to the I-81 corridor.
“Companies like Chewy.com and other industry leaders are lining up to leverage the access that the parkway and corridor offers to markets up and down the East Coast,” Miles said.
In 2016, NorthPoint Development, a privately held development firm and the largest private landlord in the U.S., with more than $3.2 billion in assets managed, purchased 172 acres of reclaimed land along the South Valley Parkway from the Earth Conservancy. More than 2 million square feet of prime logistics space has been erected on this site and Chewy.com, an online pet retailer is the first tenant of the site — resulting in more than 1,000 people hired at the fulfillment center.
Mullery, D-Newport Township, said the South Valley Parkway will divert traffic from Middle Road and provide a safer, more livable space for homeowners in the villages of Askam and lower Askam and a safer commute for students and staff at Luzerne County Community College.
“The project will provide a better traffic flow that will result in a long-term investment and will create opportunities for development in our region,” Mullery said.
When finished, the South Valley Parkway will include a complete reconstruction of the Route 29 Exit 2 interchange which will ease congestion issues on Middle Road and provide better access to the region’s largest higher education institute, the Luzerne County Community College (LCCC).
“As we open Exit 2 of the South Valley Parkway, we are ahead of schedule on this project and we remain on budget, said James May, District Press Officer for PennDOT. “We anticipate that 70 percent of the project will open over two years ahead of schedule.”
The South Valley Parkway is expected to be open it its entirety in 2019.
– Bill O’Boyle
Date: January 23, 2018
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