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February 03, 2022

Funding secured for final U.S. 219 expansion on Maryland side

Credit: Garrett County Republican, Joseph Hauger

GRANTSVILLE — Federal lawmakers have announced $55 million in funding over the next five years to complete Maryland’s expansion of U.S. 219 into Pennsylvania.

U.S. Rep. David Trone and Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen last week announced $11,072,956 will be allocated each year from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for construction to continue on the Appalachian Development Highway System in Garrett County.

The funding will be used to expand the existing U.S. 219 from Old Salisbury Road to a four-lane road.

“It’s about time we finished Route 219 in Western Maryland and finally complete a highway system that was established in 1965 to connect Appalachia to the interstate system,” said Trone, D-Md. “It’s without question that the completion of the ADHS will drive vast economic growth and development in the region.

“I’m thrilled that the framework from my bill was included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and that this funding is now headed to Western Maryland,” he said.

In May, construction was completed on a three-year, $63-million expansion of U.S. 219 from Interstate 68 to Old Salisbury Road. It created a 1.5-mile, four-lane highway that runs parallel to the old road near a retail area of Grantsville.

The project created roundabouts for interstate access and connected the new highway to the existing road just south of Old Salisbury Road. It provides additional space for through- truck traffic and improves separation from local traffic. The road is made up of two 12-foot lanes, an 8-foot inside shoulder and a 10-foot outside shoulder in each direction.

Currently, the roadway reportedly carries 4,400 vehicles each day. That number is expected to increase to 5,500 vehicles a day by 2040.

“Rural communities in Western Maryland deserve a reliable road network,” the Democratic lawmakers said in a joint statement. “That’s why we fought for this historic federal investment to finally deliver interstate connectivity for Western Marylanders, as well as reduce travel times, create jobs and foster economic development in Maryland and throughout the region. We were proud to help pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to provide our state and region the tools to complete the highway system and strengthen the Appalachian economy.”

The ADHS is comprised of 3,090 miles of highway, with 33 corridors that provide access to regional and national markets.

In 2020, Trone pointed out that the Appalachian road network has been in the works since the Johnson administration, but still is only 90% complete. The remaining projects include U.S. 219 between Pennsylvania and Grantsville.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., made a similar announcement of $17 million this year for ADHS projects in his state, including U.S. 219 in Somerset County. The U.S. 219 work sits behind two other projects, the Daily American has reported.