Improvements to I-81 Exit 3 given boost

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Officials announced this week that $3.4 million in federal funds has been earmarked to upgrade Exit 3 of Interstate 81 in Antrim Township.

Millions of dollars in federal funding will allow improvements to Exit 3 of Interstate 81, seen as crucial to the commercial development of that area of Antrim Township.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster announced the $3.4 million earmark this week. It will fund phase one of a reconfiguration project at the exit. That work will include improved access on and off the interstate at the exit, initially to move the southbound I-81 off-ramp.

Shuster said the funding is aimed at accommodating growth and economic expansion in the area, including the planned Antrim Commons Business Park. That development, officials have said, will create 2,000 new jobs that will infuse the area with $14 million in tax revenues.

L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., called the development one of the most important in Franklin County and Pennsylvania. He predicted that the 1,000 acres around the interchange available for development will create a major job center in the next decade.

Extended plans for the interchange would involve a $20 million expansion, according to Shuster, who added that an intermodal facility near the interchange is under consideration by Norfolk Southern.

Pa. Sen. Richard Alloway II joined Shuster in Greencastle for the announcement.

In addition to federal funding for road construction and improvements, the state has approved $1.25 million in grant funding to expand water treatment systems and opens the way for a merger of the Antrim Township Municipal Authority and the Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority.

“The Franklin County Area Development Corporation and the borough and township authorities asked me to help secure this grant,” Alloway said. “I applaud the two authorities for working together to save the taxpayers money and improve service to their customers.  This will unlock commercial potential and will mean more good-paying jobs and a broader tax base for the township, borough, Greencastle Antrim School District and Franklin County.”  

Alloway also announced a $520,000 state grant to improve water systems to accommodate the Greencastle project as well as a $533,262 grant for a sewer project.  The state funding, secured by Alloway, will expand Antrim Township's water treatment capacity to meet the increased need of the business park. “This funding will be a vital tool in promoting private investment in our communities,” Alloway said.   

“The new economic development project along Exit 3 will create new jobs and provide a boost for our local economy, and I am thankful that the state and the federal government are doing their part to bring greater economic growth to Greencastle,” Alloway said.