PITTSTON TOWNSHIP -- A new roadway near the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is now open.
For years, officials from PennDOT have been telling drivers to be patient when driving through the two new interchanges off Interstate 81 near the airport.
Three roundabouts were under construction, as well as a new access road for trucks headed to nearby industrial parks.
Those three roundabouts near the airport were only part of a larger $43 million road project. The second half of it is the opening of Navy Way Road.
The secretary of PennDOT along with elected state officials met Wednesday morning for a ribbon cutting, marking the opening of the new Navy Way Road. They're hoping the new access road will take trucks off side roads and attract more businesses to the greater Pittston area.
"We're in close proximity to the airport, we're in close proximity to train tracks, and we're making it easier for large employers to choose this area in Pittston, to develop," said PennDOT Secretary Leslie Richards.
The plan is for large trucks to use the new Navy Way Road and no longer use Route 315 and Suscon Road to get to two industrial parks nearby.
It also is expected to add development to the area. In fact, just last month, FedEx relocated to an industrial park off of the new road, largely because it will be a big benefit to the trucking company.
"The place we chose allows us now to access (Interstate) 81 easily and not having to go through the residential community," said FedEx senior manager Richard Allen.
People in those neighborhoods hope the change comes quickly.
"The other day, I had a tour of the new FedEx building back here and we talked to one of the superintendents and I asked him and that and he said, 'we're going to try to make them go out on the new road,'" said Suscon Road resident Dean Robinson.
The new access road is in parts of Pittston Township, Avoca, and Dupont, but it will be Dupont that's in charge of maintaining it. In exchange, PennDOT gave them a new public works truck to help with that maintenance.
"It's not just for Dupont, it's for the whole community! It's the whole greater Pittston area! Look at the infrastructure here that's going to be built, the airport's here, we're going to bring more traffic into that area, it's not just for Dupont," said Dupont Mayor Dan Lello.
"Now we're going to have hundreds of employees daily passing our front doors down on the new road, which can only be a positive," said area business owner Jack Walker.
PennDOT officials were also happy to report that this $43 million airport interchange project, including the roundabouts, finished on time and on budget.