MARION, IL (KFVS) - Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker spent the morning traveling around southern Illinois.
One of his stops included the Pepsi MidAmerica factory, where he helped local leaders cut the ribbon to celebrate opening Halfway Road.
According to Gov. Pritzker’s Office, the new facility will be bring 350 new jobs to southern Illinois.
“There’s a lot of economic development that we can do here,” Pritzker said, “not just in Marion but all across southern Illinois.”
The newly opened road connects Carbon Street in Marion to Old Route 13. Supporters of the project say it’s opening will alleviate traffic in front of Marion schools greatly as well as help the Pepsi plant.
According to Pepsi MidAmerica Vice Chairman John Rains, there’s been an effort to get Halfway road opened for about 25 years.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever driven on Carbon street and Old Route 13 and the school system,” he said, “but it is back to back traffic.”
The added efficiency is also having a direct impact on the output of the plant.
“Because of that expansion," Rains said, “we’ve been able to incrementally increase employment by over 50 jobs.”
Rains said with this new efficiency, they hope to expand operations on production lines by the summer.
With this new growth and development in the community, Governor Pritzker said he is excited to showcase the area to outside business.
“We want businesses to look at that talent and see the infrastructure investments that are being made and say, ‘this is where I want to locate my business,’”