NANTICOKE — The next phase of the South Valley Parkway project opens today, marking completion of the entire expressway save for the final roundabout at Prospect Street, state Department of Transportation officials said.
That new, 2-mile segment of highway runs between an existing roundabout off the South Cross Valley Expressway (Route 29) and Kosciuszko Street.
The $58.7 million addition is part of an overall 3.6-mile roadway providing a faster route between Nanticoke, Hanover Township and Wilkes-Barre, diverting traffic from busy Middle Road. Overall state investment in the project is $89 million.
“The opening of yet another segment of the South Valley Parkway ahead of schedule signals we are nearing the completion of this transformational infrastructure project,” said state Senator John Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township.
PennDOT broke ground on the South Valley Parkway in January 2016, and it has an official scheduled completion date of Aug. 1, 2020. But progress has been swift, and officials expect the work could be done next year, with the opening of the Prospect Street roundabout.
Included in the project are six roundabouts — three in Hanover Township and three in Nanticoke.
Already, Yudichak and others pointed out, the new road has inspired more than $500 million in private investment nearby, including projects by local companies, such as Colours, and national companies, like NorthPoint, Chewy.com, Adidas, and Patagonia.
That came following the 2016 purchase by NorthPoint Development of 172 acres of reclaimed land along the South Valley Parkway from the Earth Conservancy. More than 2 million square feet of prime logistics space has been erected on the site where online pet-product retailer Chewy became the first tenant — resulting in more than 1,000 people hired at its fulfillment center.
The highway also brings a new acronym to the local lingo: SVP. The new road also has an official state route number: 3046
“The SVP will increase safety, provide a quicker route to students travelling to Luzerne County Community College and open up the area for economic development and job creation,” said state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Wilkes-Barre.
“I’m thrilled the project is nearly 100 percent complete and congratulations to Sen. Yudichak and all involved over the past decade in bringing together this valuable infrastructure project,” Pashinski added.
LCCC President Thomas P. Leary said the opening of this major segment comes just in time for the new fall semester.
“With thousands of visitors to the campus almost daily, the new roadway creates a more direct link to LCCC from the surrounding area,” he said.