Shuster Breaks Ground on Rt. 21908/27/13
Area Officials Come Together to Kick Off Highway Construction
Washington – Congressman Shuster is pleased to announce that the first phase of construction on the long awaited US Rt. 219 four-lane extension from Somerset to Meyersdale in Somerset County is set to begin. The project is being constructed through three main contracts and it is estimated to take five years to build.
“This is a tremendous day for the people of the Ninth District and southwestern Pennsylvania. For my entire time in Congress, I have fought for the people of Somerset County to make this highway expansion a reality. This project could not have come to fruition without the hard work of local, state and federal officials,” said Shuster.
“The Rt. 219 expansion is about more than just a wider highway. This project is essential for future generations to have a better way of life and will open the region to greater economic prosperity with the added commerce it will bring,” Shuster added.
“Congressman Shuster and Governor Corbett are committed to public safety and putting Pennsylvanians back to work. That is what today is all about. This long-awaited road project will dramatically improve safety for area motorists and help put 9,000 people to work. Thank you, Bill Shuster, for your leadership on the Rt. 219 expansion,” said Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley.
The US 219 Garrett Project consists of the construction of approximately 11-miles of new 4-lane, limited access highway. This expansion will also include the construction of two new interchanges, one at the Mason Dixon Highway and the other at Mud Pike.
“A project to complete a four-lane, 219 connection between Somerset and Meyersdale has been years in the making,” said PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch. “Today, thanks to Congressman Shuster’s leadership, this vitally important project can finally move forward.”
“Route 219 is a critical conduit for commerce in Somerset County and the surrounding communities. Extending 219 to Meyersdale is an important infrastructure investment and will help grow the economy, attract businesses, and add jobs in our region. This project could not have happened without the perseverance and leadership of Chairman Shuster, our local elected officials, and so many other members of the community,” said Rep. Keith Rothfus.
This project has been a long time coming with the initial planning starting in the 1970’s. It 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.
The expansion is 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.
"Today's groundbreaking is the culmination of decades of hard work, persistence and cooperation at all levels of government, and I am proud to have played a role in making this project a reality. Today, Somerset County takes another step towards a convenient and accessible transportation link to key major metropolitan markets,” said State Senator Richard A. Kasunic.
“This was a cooperative and collaborative effort between the federal, state governments, and the local counties. I want to thank my colleagues for all their efforts in keeping the funding alive for this project and I want to thank the hundreds of millions of motorists who purchased billions of dollars of gasoline to make this construction possible,” said State Senator John Wozniak.
“There was a lot of work put into this vital project for our region and it is gratifying to see this phase begin. The improvements to Route 219 will enhance travel in our area and will also be a boost to the local economy. It is a privilege to be involved with this effort,” said Representative Carl Metzgar.
“The groundbreaking is the result of 40 years worth of efforts by numerous individuals dedicated to seeing this highway completed. It is truly a major victory and an event that will become a major milestone in the history of our county,” said John P. Vatavuk, Chairman, Somerset County Board of Commissioners.
The first phase of the construction will be the earthwork phase, which is expected to cost $121 million and will take 3 years to complete. The Joseph B. Fay Company based in Tarentum has been awarded the contract and are anticipating beginning work in September. 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.
The second phase of construction is the structures phase, which is estimated to cost $92 million. This phase will include the construction of 10 bridges and will take approximately two years to complete.
The third phase will be the paving of the highway and is estimated to cost $53 million, with work beginning in 2016. This will include the paving of the majority of the 11-mile corridor and will take approximately two years to complete.