The $11.5 million Lafayette Street corridor project groundbreaking ceremony brought almost 100 government and community members together at Ford Street and Lafayette Street in Norristown on Monday, according to The Times Herald.
“Today we break ground on a transformative project more than a decade in the making. It will open up a critical corridor to our county seat, create jobs, make our waterfront more accessible and ease congestion,” said Josh Shapiro, Chairman of the Montgomery County Commissioners.
The extension, 0.6 miles, will affect Lafayette Street from Ford Street to Conshohocken Road. There will be 2 lanes in each direction, as well as 12-foot-long median in the middle.
The Schuylkill River Trail will be moved and will then be converted into the Lafayette Street extension sidewalk.
According to Shapiro, the project was started in March 2000 when the then-commissioners bestowed a $50,000 contract that month to improve road access going to Norristown. Shapiro thanked Joseph Hoeffel, the former Congressman, for obtaining a $10 million federal highway grant in 2001. There came later $20 million more “obtained by Hoeffel, Congressman (James) Gerlach and (U.S.) Senator (Arlen) Specter” for the project.
The project is slated to take 15 months and is the first of three contracts. The funding breaks down into 20 percent from Montgomery county funds and 80 percent from federal funds.
The Lafayette Street extension, which is to extend Lafayette Street to Diamond Avenue in Plymouth township, widen Diamond Avenue, and reconstruct a section of Ridge Pike, has a second contract of $20 million and will continue in Aug. 2014.
The connection between Conshohocken Road and Ridge Pike will be let go and replaced with a new traffic light where Diamond Avenue and Ridge Pike intersect. This is set to be completed in 2014 and funding has been obtained.
A third, $20 million contract for increasing the size of Lafayette Street in Norristown is to be awarded in 2015 and is set to begin in early 2016.