Drivers on the Ohio Turnpike, near the Pennsylvania border, can once again stop at the Mahoning Valley Service Plaza in Springfield Township. Members of the Turnpike Commission helped cut the ribbon on the two new facilities Wednesday.
“The project took about three years from conception to completion, about $32 million for both sides of the road,” said Executive Director Rick Hodges, Ohio Turnpike Commission.
Problems with some contractors delayed the project, but the plaza is now welcoming travelers like Raymond Valerino of Pittsburgh who travels the stretch several times a month.
“The new facility is great,” said Valerinos. “It’s better than anything on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.”
Motorists can take a break from their drive or get food from the Panera Bread Café which will operate on both sides of the plaza. A Dairy Queen Grill and Chill will also open soon.
“This will be our sixth location that we will have on the Ohio Turnpike,” said Sam Covelli, Covelli Enterprises. “We’ve had great rapport over the years with the Turnpike Commission.”
In all, the service plazas will employ 450 people.
Tony Paglia, with the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, said the new facilities will help welcome the increased businesses travel expected for the area.
“This is a gateway area into Ohio, and we’re finding because of the resurgence of our economy, more and more people are coming here,” said Paglia.