The Montgomery County commissioners and representatives of the county transportation authority, as well as officials from Norristown and Plymouth Township, are participating this morning in the ceremonial demolition of a home to mark the start of the Lafayette Street Corridor building project.
The demolition is being carried out on Diamond Avenue, a short street that intersects Ridge Pike just east of Conshohocken Road. The area will become part of an ambitious revitalization enterprise in the next several years.
The project will extend Lafayette Street from Norristown into Plymouth Township, and allow accessibility from the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Norristown, near the Black Horse Auto Body Shop on Ridge Pike.
The $60 million project is fully funded, mostly with federal monies. But in March 2011 the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced it was not planning to fund a $70 million turnpike interchange that local leaders had foreseen would be a critical link with the outside, funneling much-needed customers into Norristown. The municipality has been struggling with urban-style blight.
County planners have suggested that the cost of building the ramp could be recovered in tolls from motorists over the next decade.
The construction is targeted for completion in 2017. Officials are hoping the project will help transform the county seat into an economically-viable entity.