NORRISTOWN One of Montgomery County's biggest transportation projects got a major boost Wednesday when the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission committed $45 million to build a new Norristown turnpike interchange.

The county recently entered the second phase of construction on the Lafayette Street widening project, which aims to reduce congestion on commuter-heavy streets in Norristown and Plymouth Township.

New entrances and exits off the turnpike will have a wider regional impact, officials say, easing traffic at several points between the Valley Forge interchange (the third busiest in the state) and the Norristown interchange (11th busiest).

The new exits and entrances would be near Milepost 331, on the east side of the Schuylkill about two miles west of the current exit, which drops drivers near Plymouth Meeting Mall.

The Lafayette Street extension and the new interchange are being built with a mix of county, federal highway, and state funds bolstered by last year's transportation-funding bill.

Construction on the interchange could begin as early as 2018.

- Jessica Parks