Congressman Bill Shuster is pleased to announce the planning stage of the long anticipated Route 219 four-lane extension from Somerset to Meyersdale in Somerset County is nearing completion. Construction of the approximate 11-mile project is set to begin this summer.
"This project has been a long time in the making and it's great to see it finally getting off the ground," said Shuster. "Completing Route 219 has long been one of my highest priorities in Congress. This critical north-south route will open the door to greater economic development and a higher standard of living for everyone in central Pennsylvania."
The project is being funded through a dedicated federal reserve associated with completing the Appalachian Highway Development System and will not include any state funds. Prior to MAP-21, the funding mix for this project would have been 80 percent federal, 20 percent state. Language changes advocated for by Shuster and successfully included in MAP-21, changes the formula to 100 percent federal.
"The planning associated with this project has been a collaborative process that involved the hard work and persistence of many local leaders," Governor Tom Corbett said. " We are pleased that the changes associated with MAP-21 will allow this important project to take its next step towards completion."
In anticipation of the highway project, workers from K.W. Reese, Inc. of Mercersburg and Beeghly Tree Service, LLC of Somerset will begin tomorrow timbering work within the right-of-way of the new alignment.
The contractors will cut nearly 250 acres of timber beginning mid-February and are expected to be finished by March 31. The tree clearing must be completed during this time frame as part of the coordination for the federally protected Indiana Bat, which is considered an endangered species.
For more information on the project, contact Tom Prestash at PennDOT, 814-696-7100.