After 40 years of planning and securing funding, work will begin August 27 on a new stretch on Route 219 in Somerset County.
The 11-mile, four-lane roadway will connect the existing Route 219 south of Somerset with the existing four-lane Meyersdale bypass.
The project will include new interchanges north of Meyersdale and at a crossing of the Mud Pike roadway.
“It’s really for economic growth in the area to provide connections to other major routes,” said Greg Illig, PennDOT District 9 Project Manager. “Also, it will improve safety over to the existing 219, which is kind of a winding road, this is going to be a new high-speed four-lane facility that is designed to current standards.”
Illig said the project will take roughly five years to complete and will be split into three phases.
The first phase involves moving 10 million cubic yards of earth and installing drainage in the area.
Illig said this will take about three years to complete.
The second phase will be the construction of bridges, and the third phase will be the actual paving process.
“A project of this magnitude, it just takes time to work through all the studies and complete the designs and also, a major component is identifying the funding for something this size,” Illig said.
According to Illig, the price tag is about $370 million, but Route 219 will help boost economic growth in the county.
“This is now going to provide that area, Somerset County, a connection to other interstate routes,” Illig said. “Also during construction, it’ s going to provide a boost to the area not only for the contractor, but all of the businesses around the area that will supply services to the contractor.”
Illig said preliminary studies were done to connect the Meyersdale bypass to Route I68 in Maryland, but there isn’t enough funding to move forward with construction yet.