New Interchange Under Construction

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PENN FOREST TOWNSHIP -- After years of talk, a big project to increase access to the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is underway.

It's costing $24 million to carve a new interchange along the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Carbon County. This will be the first E-Z Pass-only interchange on the northeast extension. It will link the turnpike with Route 903 between Jim Thorpe and Lake Harmony.

"We have to give these people somewhere to go for work and make it for cheaper travel, meaning when this opens up they can go Wilkes-Barre and Allentown at the same time and saving fuel instead of traveling the back roads," said Penn Forest Township Supervisor Paul Montemuro.

Sal Cannarella, a business owner on Route 903, predicts the new interchange will mean more business.

"I think it's great because of the people who have businesses here and people who live up here. It's easy access to come here and go to work. They'll save some time."

Dave Piere wonders if there will be problems.

"As far as a little confusion, people traveling from out of state that don't know the situation of E-Z Pass only and that's going to create problems."

Tara Carr believes the new interchange will mean more traffic on Route 903.

"This is only a two- lane highway. There is only so much space, so we're going to get traffic to the town which is a tourist town and they're going to get traffic where the race track is."

A turnpike spokesman says barring any major weather delays, the E-Z Pass only interchange will be open next fall.

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