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January 04, 2023

Funds directed to widen I-81 in Washington County

Credit: DC News Now

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (DC News Now) — Traffic and congestion on I-81 have been quite the headache for drivers in the Hagerstown area.

The highway runs north-south from Pennsylvania through Maryland and into West Virginia and Virginia, but drivers say motoring here is no picnic.

“It is so busy here in the Hagerstown area,” said local resident Jacob Buckley. “I use 81 all the time to get around but I really try to avoid it because it gets so congested.”

There are only two lanes in each direction causing traffic to get backed up. The intervals between exits are relatively short, but there has been so much development in Washington County.

“We raised a red flag about 81 back in 1998,” said Jim Kercheval, a former county commissioner and now head of the Greater Hagerstown Committee.

The booming e-commerce economy here has led to the building of many warehouses for companies like Amazon and Fed-Ex and their massive fleets of trucks.

Buckley would love to see more lanes on the highway. That is precisely what Maryland Governor Larry Hogan proposes doing just as he prepares to leave office this month.

The governor is committing $100 million to add another lane in each direction, funds secured from Washington by Congressman David Trone (D – Md.).

Though the money is being delivered now for the project, construction will not begin before the summer of 2025.