There's a light at the end of the tunnel for local motorists who travel between Cranberry and Freedom.
County, state and local officials today announced plans for an $81 million PennDOT project to complete a 3.5-mile stretch from Route 989 in New Sewickley to the Route 65 in Freedom.
The project will mean having to aquire some properties through eminent domain, a process officials said is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks.
Sen. Elder Vogel, R-New Sewickley, who attended the press conference, said there is not an adequate connector between the corridors of Route 65 and the major highways in Cranberry.
The project will help link an already-completed section of road that runs from 989 to Cranberry.
Vogel, who has been working on this issue since his time as a New Sewickley supervisor, said he is pleased to see this finally coming to fruition.
"For years, this project lingered in a state of incompleteness due to a lack of funding," Vogel said in a statement. "Thanks to the injection of funding due to the recently passed transportation bill, this project can finally move forward. The economic benefits are going to be huge. I see this as being the gateway to opening this end of the valley to future development."
Economy Mayor David Poling agreed that the plans, also known as the Crows Run project, have been in the workings for more than 40 years. He admitted he thought the plans wouldn't happen.
Poling said the project will help alleviate traffic in the rural areas, particularly the vehicles that cut through Economy neighborhoods. Traffic coming off Route 19 and 65 will be able to come up the new expressway.
“It actually helps Economy because it will help trucks coming in off 65, because you can’t come up Conway Wallrose Road. There’s a weight limit in Conway,” Poling said.
Poling suggested to council that a red light be installed at Dunlap Hill because of the additional traffic that will be coming through the area.
“It’s a tough intersection,” he said.
PennDOT officials told the Pittsburgh Tribune Review the project is the most significant in the region, with construction expected to be completed by 2020.