Local and state dignitaries will gather at 10 a.m. Tuesday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony that will officially open the new Rowe Road in Shippensburg.
“This project is a reflection of community and governmental cooperation and collaboration,” said Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp. “This will improve safety and open future development opportunities ... and it’s a testament that with good leadership, all things are possible.”
Rowe Road joins Route 11 just south of the Weis Plaza entrance and runs past Volvo Construction Equipment. It was previously located north of Weis Plaza and ran around the middle and high schools to Volvo.
Kevin Plasterer, Shippensburg Borough street foreman, said the possibility of relocating Rowe Road was first discussed in March 2011 because of concerns about safety and traffic flow.
The $1.4 million project moved forward the following year when Volvo expanded and two feasibility studies recommended the relocation, as well as installation of a traffic light on Route 11.
“There were conversations as Volvo was putting together a master plan to grow their plant,” Ross said.
Increased traffic was anticipated as a result of Volvo’s expansion, in addition to existing traffic to schools and Weis, he said.
“Safety was paramount to the decision to proceed,” Ross said.
Plasterer credited Ross with spearheading the project and helping to secure a $500,000 state grant. Funding was also provided by Southampton Township Franklin County, the Franklin County Area Development Corp., Shippensburg Borough, Volvo and the Cressler Family Partnership, owner of Weis Market.
The project took six years and was completed this summer. A temporary traffic signal was installed at the original intersection during construction, and the former Rowe Road is now used as a second access to Weis Market.
Ross said the project is a “unique partnership” that used public and private money and resulted from community and government working together.
“Through a lot of hard work, cooperation and collaboration, things can get done,” he said.
“From the very beginning, we were skeptical ... but we all worked together as stakeholders to accomplish the project,” he said. “It’s nice that everyone can work together. It’s been a long road.”
Plasterer said he has heard no complaints since the new road opened.
The ribbon-cutting is open to the public. People attending should park near Rowe Road in the Weis Market parking lot.