Full funding for I-99/I-80 interchange project is in,; construction to start soon
STATE COLLEGE – The multimillion-dollar highway project is finally a go after decades of looking for funding. Penn Dot was recently awarded $35 million in federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant funding. The event was hosted by the Chamber of Business & Industry of Centre County and supporters of the DRIVE Forward’ transportation initiative at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology Tuesday.
Dozens of people came out to celebrate this moment for not only Centre County residents but all the drivers who tend to travel in and out of town.
"This is a big day not just for Centre County and the region but for Pennsylvania,” Penn Dot secretary Leslie Richards said. “I don't get to come to events celebrating $35 million grants that come from federal grant often."
Commissioners say the current interchange is known for being troublesome and dangerous. The money will help start construction of a high-speed I-99/I-80 interchange and a local access interchange to replace the Bellefonte exit.
The Infrastructure for Rebuilding America grant funding also helps leverage another $150 million from Penn Dot to complete the total funding of the $185 million needed to complete the entire project.
Penn Dot officials say the support is what really helped the project get this far. They call the support unique, not only because local officials promoted it, but because state federal representatives stepped in to help.
“We know that this intersection in I-99 and I-80 is one that really needs it and it has been identified, and we're really happy to be here and see it through," Richards said.
As far as construction, officials say it will take about two years to complete the first two stages for the interchange in Bellefonte.
The estimated start time for the project would be April 2020 for the first two stages and 2022 for the final stage.