FALLS CREEK – It can be seen as the end of decades worth of planning and hoping, but for the DuBois Regional Airport and the nearby Air Commerce Park, it is a beginning.
The ribbon was cut on the new Interstate 80 access road near the DuBois Regional Airport Friday morning, bringing with it ease in getting to the airport by car or truck.
“This is a great day for Jefferson County and the surrounding region,” said state Department of Transportation District 10 Assistant District Executive for Design Brian Allen. “This new road and access to the interstate are integral parts of a comprehensive plan for economic development in this area. By blending multiple modes of transportation — air, freight and the interstate — this project will play a crucial role in spurring job growth in Jefferson County for years to come.”
Officials from both Jefferson County and Clearfield County took part in ceremonies held about two hours before the road welcomed its first travelers.
“We don’t have borders, and we must move and do things in an appropriate fashion because there will be spin-offs,” said Clearfield County Commissioner Rex Read.
That is the hope of many as the airport authority has worked diligently and continues to work on a Foreign Trade Zone and an Air Commerce Park on the facility’s grounds.
Paul Corbin, Jefferson County commissioner, thanked all of those who took part in the project.
“Today could be Thanksgiving Day early for everyone concerned,” he said.
The road, exit 90 off of Interstate 80 both east- and west-bound, was built in two phases. Phase I cost $9.5 million and included the I-80 interchange and a 410-foot bridge over the interstate. Construction by Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc. of State College began in July 2004. Phase II included the construction of the new asphalt road and three box culverts beginning in September 2005. The cost of the second phase was $16.8 million.
During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, signs were unveiled naming the road the Francis H. “Bud” Scherer Memorial Highway.
Scherer served as director of the DuBois-Jefferson County Airport (now known as the DuBois Regional Airprot) from 1972 until his death Feb. 13, 1985, when he was killed in an airplane crash.
On the morning of his death, he was meeting with representatives from the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to discuss better access to the airport.
The road was named for Scherer through legislation sponsored by State Sen. Joseph Scarnati.