For Veronique Fontenelle, the construction of the new interchange off Route 24 on the Fall River/Freetown line means more to her than better local access: It means a job.
Recovery Act Impact: Route 24 Interchange
Total stimulus funding: $32.7 million
Critical to development of 300-acre SouthCoast BioPark in Fall River and Freetown
Improved access to 325-acre business park in Freetown
Fontenelle, who has been living in nearby New Bedford for 22 years, had worked in environmental planning - she worked on the oil rigs in Mississippi at one point - but had been unemployed for nearly a year when she heard that the construction of the new interchange was happening. The project received $32.7 million in stimulus funds and will enable access to a new 300-acre biotechnology park that is being developed in Fall River and provide better access to the 325 acre Riverfront Business Park in Freetown.
A friend who knew Fontenelle had been searching for employment told her about the project. She applied for a job as a laborer and was hired five months ago, in the winter of 2011. She said that the project is very good for the neighborhood - the access the interchange will bring to the new biotech park and to Riverfront means more jobs and economic development for the south coast area - but to her there is something equally as important: She loves the job.
"I look forward to coming to work every day," she said. "This is a very good opportunity. I like to work hard and this is the kind of work I've been doing all my life."