HARRISBURG, Dec. 13, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna) and Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne) voiced their approval today of a $2.6 million investment in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport by the Pennsylvania Transportation Commission.
The money will help the vital transportation hub tear down the airport’s old terminal building complex and build a commercial aircraft hangar.
“This important state investment will keep the airport competitive and it will modernize facilities to meet the needs and demands of a 21st century traveling public,” Blake said.
“An investment in our region’s airport infrastructure is an investment in our present and future economic vitality,” Carroll said.
The new support comes on the heels of PennDOT’s decision in July to move forward on a $42 million highway safety project that will link the Grimes Industrial Park with the airport, add longer on- and off-ramps on Exit 178 of I-81, and include three roundabouts for more efficient traffic flow.
Rep. Carroll said the two projects will work well together.
“This development at our airport, combined with the nearby airport connector highway project, significantly enhances safe and efficient travel,” the Hughestown Democrat said.
Sen. Blake, an Archbald Democrat, agreed.
“It is a very important investment at the airport, and timely in the wake of the start of the $42 million I-81 interchange upgrade,” Blake said. “I am very encouraged to see this funding commitment by the transportation commission.”
The 47-year-old terminal building complex closed seven years ago. Airport officials say that site will be converted to park airplanes once it is demolished.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International is a full-service airport that is operated jointly by Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. The Joseph M. McDade Terminal, which has been open since May 2006, is about 70 percent larger than the older facility and was built at a cost of $41 million.
PITTSTON TOWNSHIP – State Sen. John Blake and Rep. Mike Carroll today heralded the start of a $42 million highway project near the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport that will improve traffic safety and lead to new economic development opportunities for the region.
Blake (D-Lackawanna/Luzerne/Monroe) and Carroll (D-Luzerne/Monroe) joined PennDOT and other state and local officials in a groundbreaking ceremony for the project, which will feature a new road linking the airport with the Grimes Industrial Park, plus longer and safer on- and off-ramps for Exit 178 of I-81 and three roundabouts designed for smoother vehicle flow.
The new and long-needed connection between Grimes Industrial Park and I-81 will help to relieve local roads of heavy truck traffic.
“Today we mark a new beginning and we commit new federal, state and local investments that will ensure safer commutes for our residents and for visitors to our region while improving prospects for business growth and jobs,” said Blake. “This groundbreaking means the hard work, perseverance and diligence of our local officials has finally paid off.”
“For 20 years, the Lackawanna and Luzerne county commissioners have been working with Dupont Borough, Pittston Township and Avoca Borough officials plus business leaders, airport officials and PennDOT to put a shovel in the ground to begin this project, and we are finally here,” Carroll said. “Today marks another giant step forward for the Greater Pittston area and for the people of Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. I’m thankful for the efforts of all who laid the foundation for today’s groundbreaking.”
The project will include the expansion of four bridges along I-81, the replacement of a pedestrian bridge and the repaving of a 1.5 mile section of the highway.
The project will open 95 acres of airport property for economic development. Construction is expected to last two years. Pennsy Supply won the bid for the general construction contract.