Public workshop set for Route 219 South

Posted on September 16th, 2014

Daily American (September 12, 2014)

If 7 miles of Route 219 are built from Meyersdale south, there will be a 77-mile four-lane limited access highway from Carrolltown in Cambria County to Interstate 68 in Maryland.

“This is needed for economic development, also for vacation travel,” Somerset County Commissioner John Vatavuk said. “It would be easier to get to Morgantown, D.C. and Baltimore. You’d get there so much faster.”

He is optimistic that the project that has been on hold since 2007 is
getting back on track.

“This is the greatest news we’ve heard since the groundbreaking for
the Meyersdale to Somerset section,” he said. “With the push by
Maryland, there’s more impetus to have Pennsylvania do something.”

His optimism is because the Maryland State Highway Administration
(SHA), in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of
Transportation, is conducting an informational workshop on the
southern section of Route 219 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 23 at
the Grantsville Elementary School (cafeteria), 120 Grant Street,
Grantsville, Maryland. No formal presentation will be made. People may
walk through the project alternatives at any time during those hours.

A map of alternatives is attached to the online version of this
article.

Alternatives include:

  • No-Build – No major improvements are proposed under the No-Build Alternative.
  • All of the build alternatives would start in the same location. The
    northern tie-in for these alternatives would begin at the southern end
    of the Meyersdale Bypass, at Hunsrick Summit, and continue along the
    western foot of Meadow Mountain until it reaches Engles Mills.
  • Alternative D – From the point at which Alternative D reaches Engles
    Mills, it travels southwest across Piney Creek Valley and crosses US
    219 just south of Salisbury. Once it crosses US 219, Alternative D
    proceeds south/southeast to I-68.
  • Alternative E – From the point at which Alternative E reaches Engles
    Mills, it continues south until it reaches the Maryland/Pennsylvania
    state line. At that point, Alternative E would change direction to the
    southwest, staying slightly east of US 219 and tying into I-68, east
    of the I-68 Interchange. To avoid direct impacts on homes along Old
    Salisbury Road, Alternative E was designed to use all 124 acres of SHA
    right-of-way within the Little Meadows Historic Site, adjacent to US
    219 and extending from just north of US 40 Alternate to I-68.
    (Tomlinson’s Stone House Inn was built in 1816 at Little Meadows. This
    place is referred to as the Little Meadows in the official record of
    Gen. Edward Braddock’s march through the mountains in 1755.)
  • Alternative E Shift – Designed to move the alignment east, away from
    homes on Old Salisbury Road, and to avoid, as much as possible,
    impacts beyond those imposed by Alternative E on the Little Meadows
    Historic Site. The shift uses as much SHA property and right-of-way as
    possible.
  • Alternative AE – At the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line,
    Alternative AE diverges from Alternative E and heads west, crossing US
    219 just south of the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line, and follows
    Alternative D south to I-68. Following the 2004 Informational
    Workshop, the project team shifted Alternative AE in Maryland just
    west of the point at which the alignment crosses US 219. This shift,
    in conjunction with the alignment’s reduced footprint, eliminates the
    need to acquire any homes in the Windy Acres Lane area.

The project team is considering two options for an interchange with
I-68 at the project’s southern end. A “high-speed” interchange
consists of ramps that maintain ramp speeds of 45 mph and higher.

As an alternate option, the project team is considering a loop ramp
“low-speed” interchange at the project’s southern end that would not
require vehicles to stop at the end of the ramps. Lower ramp speeds
would be required and curves at the end of the ramps would be tighter.

This option would be less expensive than the “high-speed” interchange.

During the next three to six months, cultural resources crews will be
working in the study area to evaluate structures for historic
eligibility and to conduct archeological surveys on the proposed
alignments. They will be looking for signs of wildlife, evaluating the
presence of plant species of special concern and looking for potential
mitigation sites.

By Vicki Rock
Email