Route 219 tops list of priority road projects in Somerset County
Posted on June 14th, 2012
The Daily American (June 13, 2012)
SOMERSET COUNTY, PA — A four-lane Route 219 between Somerset and Meyersdale remains Somerset County’s top priority highway project.
“It always is,” Brad Zearfoss, director of the county planning commission, said at Southern Alleghenies Rural Planning Organization’s Transportation Improvement Program public hearing Wednesday.
Route 219 is on the 2013-16 TIP, but it requires $35 million in state matching funds, said Anne Stich, transportation program manager for Southern Alleghenies.
“Until we find matching funds, Route 219 can’t move to construction,” she said.
Commissioner John Vatavuk said he once wrote a letter to billionaire Warren Buffett to see if he would be willing to donate for the completion of Route 219. Someone on Buffett’s staff replied that he had chosen to make donations to education.
Although Route 219 is still awaiting funding, Somerset County has the most projects on the TIP in the Southern Alleghenies region, which also includes Bedford, Fulton and Huntingdon counties. The 2013-2016 TIP includes 27 state-owned bridges in Somerset County, six local bridges and seven roadway projects.
“We have more bridges in the region and the most severe weather that makes them deteriorate faster,” Zearfoss said.
The planning region received $94,795,000 in the 2009 TIP, but only $58,264,000 for the 2013 TIP, a difference of $36,531,000. The cuts were made statewide, Stich said.
New projects in Somerset County that were added to the TIP are resurfacing on Route 281 and bridge projects on Route 523 in Addison Township, the south Somerset railroad bridge, the Keafer-Benscreek bridge in Conemaugh Township and the Roaring Fork bridge in Ogle Township.
Ongoing projects include the construction of a center turning lane and defining access points on Route 31 from Coxes Creek Road to Circle Drive in Somerset Township; intersection improvements and guiderail replacement on Trent Road near Seven Springs; the replacement of the Stoystown bridge over Route 30; and two culvert replacements on Route 219.
The complete report is available online at www.sapdc.org. Comments are being accepted through June 30. The Southern Alleghenies board will adopt the TIP on July 19.