The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has agreed to provide $66 million over the next eight years to help fund one of Montgomery County's largest transportation projects: expanding highway access through an interchange that could benefit downtown Norristown.
The interchange will give drivers access to the cashless tolls on and off both the Valley Forge and Norristown exits, two of the busiest exits in the state.
The full project, part of the Lafayette Street Extension approved in 2014, has a price tag of $100 million that will be funded through 2024 by federal highway funds, primarily, with Montgomery County kicking in 20 percent to cover costs.
The first phase of construction includes extending Lafayette Street in Norristown into Plymouth Township.
Construction is currently under way with the widening of Ridge Pike between Ross Street and School Lane and the rebuilding of Fairfield Road and Diamond Avenue, which will eventually connect to Lafayette Street. Next year, Lafayette Street will be widened to ease traffic congestion in the area, officials said.
By rebuilding the turnpike and expanding commuter access, officials said they are hoping to spur economic development in downtown Norristown and provide jobs to 2,600 people in the area.
"The interchange is the critical piece to connecting downtown Norristown into the highway system and bringing an economic renaissance to the county seat," said Montgomery County commissioner Joe Gale.