Lafayette Street Extension Project History

Norristown was a thriving economic center for many decades. Transportation played a key role as several railroad lines converged in the town, and the only road between Philadelphia and Reading went straight through Main Street in Norristown. When the region's highway network was built, Norristown was left without a convenient interchange. The lack of easy highway access, along with shifting retail trends, contributed to an economic decline.

The Lafayette Street Extension Project was conceived as a way to revitalize downtown Norristown by creating easy highway access. Montgomery County secured funding in 1999 to hire McMahon Associates, Inc. and Simone Collins Incorporated Landscape Architecture to conduct a feasibility study. With this study completed, the county formally proceeded with the project by hiring McCormick Taylor in 2001 to begin preliminary engineering and environmental clearance documentation.

While the roadway was being designed, Montgomery County hired Edwards and Kelcey in 2006 to study the amount of land available for development along the riverfront and how to improve public access. The resulting Lafayette Street Land Use Access Study can be used by Norristown and Plymouth Township to understand the opportunities and constraints along the riverfront and to empower these communities to guide future development.

In 2008, all preliminary engineering and environmental clearance work was finished, and the final design phase began. The Montgomery County Transportation Authority started purchasing the necessary land (right-of-way) in 2011.

Construction of the first phase (Section MGP) to extend Lafayette St. eastward and rebuild the Schuylkill River Trail started in 2013 and finished in late 2014.

Construction of the second phase (Section MGL) to rebuild and realign local roads surrounding Lafayette St. – such as Ridge Pike, Diamond Avenue, and Conshohocken Road – began in early 2015 and will be complete by early 2017.

Construction of the third phase (Section MGN) to rebuild and widen existing Lafayette St. in downtown Norristown (as well as bring the Schuylkill River Trail down to street level) should begin construction in early 2017.