Millions awarded to Luzerne County infrastructure projects

William O'Boyle, The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
·4 min read

Apr. 17—NEWPORT TWP. — Gov. Tom Wolf on Friday announced that 43 highway, bridge, rail, and bike and pedestrian projects — including several in Luzerne County — were selected for $45.9 million in funding through the Multimodal Transportation Fund.

"Transportation moves communities and economies forward," Wolf said. "These investments will assist with overall mobility and safety in our local communities."

One Luzerne County project on the list is Valley Crest Real Estate, LP, which will receive $3 million to address significant traffic congestion around Route 309 and Kidder/Mundy Streets, including ramp reconfiguration, new ramps, additional signage, and traffic signal improvements.

Robert Tamburro, General Partner/Trustee, TFP Limited Real Estate Development and Management, said Valley Crest Real Estate LP, which is part of the Tambur family of companies, is planning to develop 90 acres of property where the Valley Crest Nursing Home formerly was located near the VA Medical Center.

"Team Valley Crest is grateful for this significant funding and we look forward to doing our part, with PennDOT, in upgrading this vital section of Route 309," Tamburro said. "On behalf of the Valley Crest team, I want to thank our state elected officials, Democrats, Republicans, and an Independent, for their strong support. I also want to thank PennDOT for all of their time, energy, and patience as we work through this process. Lastly, I want to thank Plains Township, our vendors, and our team members, all of which made this funding possible."

Tamburro said he has received $3.3 million in multi-modal grants for the proposed improvements, which would include highway improvements from Jack Williams Tire Co. to TGI Fridays.

"We need to have the traffic study done to clear the way for us to get the access for our property to develop it,' Tamburro said. "Our plan is for a mixed-use project requiring mixed-use zoning to accommodate retail, entertainment, medical, residential, etc. development."

Tamburro said the estimated project cost is more than $100 million.

Other projects

Other Luzerne County project to receive funding are:

—Luzerne County — $840,000 for approximately 2.14 miles of road improvements on West County Road in Sugarloaf Township. These improvements will include the addition of a bike lane.

—Dupont Borough & Pittston Township — $716,379 to rehabilitate approximately 1.25 miles of roadway and upgrade stormwater infrastructure within the Quail Hill Development.

—Dupont Borough — $763,218 for removing certain portions of the existing pavement structure and replacing with full depth pavement; completing 1-1/2 inch pavement milling and overlay of several roadways in the borough and manhole/inlet grade adjustments.

—Borough of West Hazleton — $1 million for reconstructing 1,970 linear feet to improve safety and sustain traffic flow at Rotary Drive in Valmont Industrial Park which will be maintaining access for existing industries' current employees and all customers.

—Sugarloaf Township — $840,000, for road improvements to 2.14 miles of West County Road, which includes the addition of a bike lane.

Legislators back awards

State Rep. Gerald Mullery on Friday said safe and reliable transportation is critical for our day-to-day lives and to keep our local and state economies thriving.

"I will always support funding to keep our roads safe for residents, drivers, and visitors," said Mullery, D-Newport Township.

Mullery said the $1 million dollars in state funding awarded to West Hazleton is for critical safety and traffic flow improvements along a busy stretch of road.

Mullery said the funds will be used to reconstruct 1,970 linear feet on Rotary Drive in the Valmont Industrial Park.

"The construction will address safety and traffic flow concerns while maintaining access for existing industries' current employees and customers," Mullery said.

The approved project was one of 43 announced statewide Friday through PennDOT's Multimodal Transportation Fund, which addresses improvements in highway, bridge, rail, pedestrian trails and bike trails.

PennDOT evaluated the applications and made selections based on criteria such as safety benefits, regional economic conditions, the technical and financial feasibility, job creation, energy efficiency and operational sustainability.

Sen. John Yudichak, I-Swoyersville, said investing in infrastructure and a modern transportation system saves lives and creates jobs.

"I am grateful to the entire Luzerne County state legislative delegation, Luzerne County Manager Dave Pedri, and the Luzerne County Council who all recognized the regional importance of Valley Crest Common and the Valmont Industrial Park projects," Yudichak said. "These transportation funds reflect the continued investment and support of Gov. Wolf and PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian for the economic recovery of Luzerne County."

The work on Rotary Drive in Valmont Industrial Park will maintain access for existing industries' current employees and all customers.

Mayor John Chura, West Hazleton Borough, said, "Rotary Drive is a vital roadway for jobs, business and economic growth for West Hazleton."