Big changes are set for Palmer Township in Northampton County.
Ground was broken Thursday on a new $40 million interchange on Route 33, and better traffic flow isn't the only expectation.
Eight-hundred acres of new industrial and commercial development, spurred by the building of the interchange, is expected to bring at least 5,000 new jobs to the area.
"It's expected we want quality jobs that pay a living wage," said Northampton County Executive John Stoffa.
The Chrin Company is heading the project.
"Based on business coming in and some of the business are big-time companies," said Bruno Ventresca, of Chrin.
Porsche was the first to move into Chrin's Commerce Center several years ago. DCT- Industrial, a distribution company, is the first new company to sign since. Another unnamed company is in negotiations.
The general manager of a local warehouse said workers could expect a yearly salary in mid- to upper $30,000 range, with management making anywhere from $60,000 to close to $100,000.
"We're not building any residential development here, however, they'll need additional homes, and the surrounding municipalities will get them," said Dave Colver, chairman of the Palmer Township Board of Supervisors, noting that the project's impact extends beyond new jobs. "Stockertown will see relief from traffic on 115, Forks Township able to utilize the interchange. Lower Nazareth benefits from all the trucks not going on 248."
The effects may not be felt for a while. The interchange is expected to be completed in a year-and-a-half, but the surrounding development could take 20 years.
Construction is expected to start on the interchange this spring.