Westmoreland County has begun work on its newest industrial park, to be located near West Newton.
At a meeting last week of the Mon Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce in Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland County Commission Chair Gina Cerilli said the new facility in Sewickley Twp., to be known as Commerce Crossing, will hopefully begin accepting its first tenants in 2018.
The park will be located adjacent to Interstate 70, she said, adding "our goal is 150 acres of pad-ready sites."
According to county officials, the site will include direct railroad access. Cerilli said Westmoreland is hoping the site will be attractive for businesses that are related to Shell Chemical Co.'s new ethane cracking plant, now under construction near Monaca, Beaver County.
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County in May advertised for bids on a contract to construct sewer lines at Commerce Crossings. The site is being developed by the non-profit Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp.
WCIDC operates 18 industrial parks in the county, including Industrial Park IV on Colonial Manor Road in North Huntingdon Twp. That facility is fully occupied.
In other business at last week's meeting, Cerilli and the chairs of the Washington and Fayette county commissions all reiterated their support for the completion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway's northern leg through Allegheny County.
"Sen. (Jim) Brewster said it best, I think," said Vince Vicites, chair of the Fayette County Commissioners. "If we don't complete that expressway into Pittsburgh, there won't be a Mon Valley in 20 years. It will continue to wither away."
The proposed northern leg of the Mon-Fayette Expressway would extend state Route 43, a toll road, from Route 51 in Jefferson Hills to Interstate 376 in Monroeville. The extension would pass through West Mifflin, Dravosburg, Duquesne, East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek and Wilkins Twp.
The long-delayed project appeared to be dead, again, after the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, which handles regional planning in Western Pennsylvania, tabled a decision on whether to recommend that the project proceed.
But published reports indicate that SPC members who questioned the value of the toll road's extension, including Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, are dropping those objections after learning that money appropriated for the Mon-Fayette Expressway cannot be spent on other projects.
Originally published May 16, 2017.