County receives $800,000 for airport project

Infrastructure grant to be used for Route 21 improvements

January 3, 2014
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Bob Niedbala / Observer-Reporter
The three-way intersection on Route 21 and Murtha Drive leading to Walmart will be converted to a four-way intersection and provide a new entrance to the county airport. Order a Print
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Jon Stevens / Observer-Reporter
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, holds a ceremonial $800,000 check, money that will be applied toward upgrading the intersection across from the county airport. From left, state Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg; state Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson; Murphy; Jackie Erickson, representing U.S. Rep. Robert Casey; and county Commissioners Blair Zimmerman and Archie Trader. Order a Print

The federal government came calling Friday and the Greene County commissioners were more than happy to answer.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, brought a ceremonial check representing an $800,000 infrastructure grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Federal Highway Administration that will be used to finance needed roadway improvements on Route 21 across from the Greene County Airport.

The money will be used to construct a new entrance to the airport and relocate the existing access road and parking lot.

Commissioner Archie Trader said the improvements are necessary because parcels at the airport are being converted into new commercial projects and these new businesses “mean more traffic” he said.

Presently, the stoplight at Route 21 and Murtha Drive leading to the Walmart is a three-way intersection despite terminating right at the airport’s doorstep, Trader said.

To enter the airport, one has to use a service road and this money will make that three-way intersection into a seamless four-way intersection, helping to move vehicles smoothly in and out of the property.

State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Jefferson, who served as a county commissioner when the airport business park idea was launched, said, “This is a good thing. The (upgraded intersection) will relieve traffic congestion and provide a new entrance to the airport,” she said.

“This is another piece of the puzzle that is bringing our dream closer to reality. Hats off to everybody.”

Trader outlined the different phases of the project, beginning with the construction of new T-Hangars (currently under way), and the demolition of the existing hangars (scheduled this spring) so that parcels can be leased for commercial use at that location.

The second phase was the focus of Friday’s event – the construction of the proposed new entrance and relocation of the access road and parking lot.

The final phase, which is the most ambitious, has to do with the construction of a new restaurant, retail shops and perhaps a hotel on a six-acre parcel of land.

“Once completed, this will benefit the county, users of the airport and travelers along the interstate and Route 21,” Trader said.

Jon Stevens was the Observer-Reporter’s Greene County bureau chief. During his 41 years with the O-R, he covered county government, courts and politics, and won statewide and regional writing awards.

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