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Shuster Announces Final Permit in Place, Work on Rt. 219 to Begin

WashingtonCongressman Bill Shuster is pleased to announce that the final permit for the long awaited Rt. 219 four-lane extension from Somerset to Meyersdale in Somerset County has been approved. Construction of the approximate 11-mile project is set to begin late this summer.

“This is truly a great day for the people of the Ninth District. Twelve years ago, I began serving the people of Somerset County in Congress and since day one, the Rt. 219 expansion has been one of my top priorities. With the final permit in place, we can begin the bidding process on the project and then actually begin construction later this summer,” said Shuster. “This critical north-south route is essential to greater economic development and better way of life for everyone in central Pennsylvania.”

“The Congressman and I both recognize how vitally important this project is to the Southern Alleghenies Region as we work to expand the state’s economy and create jobs for every Pennsylvanian who needs one,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett. “Congressman Shuster’s leadership on this effort, which will complete a four-lane 219 connection between Somerset and Meyersdale, is truly appreciated.”

“I want to thank Congressman Shuster for his efforts to keep this project moving. I realize this expansion could not have come to fruition without the Congressman’s help,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “He and I both recognize how vitally important this project is to the regional economy.”

Construction Phases

Construction will be completed in three phases: earthwork, structures, and paving. 

- The earthwork contract will include moving approximately 10 million cubic yards of material, grading the roadway template, and installing the drainage for the majority of the 11-mile corridor and will take approximately three years to complete. 

- The structure contract will include the construction of 10 bridges and will take approximately two years to complete. 

- The paving contract will include paving the majority of the 11-mile corridor and will take approximately 2 years to complete. 

There will be approximately one year of overlap between each of the three contracts for a total duration of 5 years with the earthwork starting late this summer.  When construction is complete there will be a direct 4-lane limited access connection from Meyersdale to Route 22 in Ebensburg.

Background on Rt. 219

This project has been a long time coming with initial planning starting in the 1970’s.  The project then went on hold until 1992 when PennDOT conducted a study determining the need for an expansion between the PA Turnpike in Somerset to I-68 in Maryland. The most immediate need identified was for the 4-lane Meyersdale Bypass project which moved forward, but two sections of the highway remained; Meyersdale to Somerset and I-68 to Meyersdale. Design started on both sections in the early 2000’s, however due to a lack of funding only the section from Somerset to Meyersdale moved into the final design phase. 

Throughout the project design phase Shuster secured funding to keep the preconstruction phases of the project moving forward.  In 2008, $35 million was secured by the state and matched by 80% federal funding to move utilities and purchase the rights-of-way, however a shortfall of state funds for construction remained and construction could not move forward. The project is now being funded through a dedicated federal reserve associated with completing the Appalachian Highway Development System and will not include any state funds.  The use of 100% federal funding on this project and other similar projects was included as part of MAP-21, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which Shuster helped co-author and the President signed into law last July.

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