|COMMISSION NEWS RELEASE|
|Pa. Turnpike Celebrates Grand Opening of New King of Prussia Service Plaza
First new Philadelphia-area plaza opened in time for summer travel season
|HARRISBURG, PA (05/12/2010)(readMedia)-- Today at 10 a.m., officials from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Harrisburg, Pa., HMSHost Corp., Bethesda, Md., and Sunoco Inc., Philadelphia, will cut a ceremonial ribbon officially opening the first totally redesigned Turnpike Service Plaza in the greater Philadelphia region.
The expanded, modernized King of Prussia Service Plaza - located five miles west of the Norristown Interchange (Exit 333) in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County - serves westbound Turnpike travelers along one of the busiest corridors of I-276 with average westbound traffic of 31,000 vehicles per day.
The larger, brighter, 14,824-square-foot plaza opened to the public this morning, replacing the vintage 1950s grey stone building demolished in January 2009. The new plaza features a food-court layout with a variety of brands including Burger King, Starbucks, Dolci Gelati, and California Pizza Kitchen.
"We couldn't be more pleased with the addition of yet another new, updated Pennsylvania Turnpike Service Plaza," commented Turnpike Chief Executive Officer Joe Brimmeier. "With the heavily traveled summer season approaching, locals and visitors alike will enjoy this bright, beautifully designed plaza."
In November 2005, the Turnpike entered into a long-term, public-private partnership with HMSHost Family Restaurants LLC and Sunoco Inc. Under the terms of the 30-year deal, HMSHost is investing $100 million to construct, operate and maintain 17 food-court eateries. Sunoco is investing $70 million to redevelop 17 service stations and convenience stores.
The $7.3 million King of Prussia Plaza is the sixth plaza to be constructed on the Turnpike - without investment of toll dollars or other public funding - since the Commission initiated its redevelopment partnership in 2005. The Turnpike Commission's partnership with HMSHost and Sunoco Inc. has enabled it to focus toll dollars on the reconstruction and widening of the country's oldest toll highway which will celebrate its 70th anniversary in October.
"HMSHost is proud of our role in transforming the travel plazas across America's first superhighway into a first-class, new generation of travel plazas," said Brian Gallant, Senior Vice President HMSHost Motorway Operations. "What used to be a rest stop is now a must stop for Turnpike travelers with inviting architecture and a diverse blend of quality food choices."
Travelers entering the facility will experience an open space with exposed-truss ceiling and a ribbon of clerestory windows around the perimeter of the building that save energy by providing ample natural light.
Inside the building, state-of-the-art "touch-free" restroom facilities focus on water and energy conservation in addition to sanitization and cleanliness. Outdoors, the plaza features a trellis-covered dining area, well-landscaped grounds and a walking path for people and pets. The plaza's barn-like exterior includes multiple pitched metal roofs, stone-faced walls and columns and light-green siding. The light-colored main roof will lower energy usage by reflecting heat, especially during summer months.
Sustainable design features were incorporated throughout construction to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System criteria elements in the building and the site.
The plaza features a new Sunoco fueling station for passenger vehicles, as well as an upgraded diesel fueling station for trucks. The parking areas have been upgraded and provide additional spaces for cars, trucks and recreational vehicles.
Pennsylvania's Welcome Center, previously located at the North Neshaminy Service Plaza, will make its new home in the King of Prussia Service Plaza. A professionally trained agent will be available to provide travel counsel, products and services to travelers. The Welcome Center will open May 17.
Customers can download a free Service Plaza reference booklet from the Pa. Turnpike's website at www.paturnpike.com.