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Upgrades to U.S. 219 in MD to Benefit from $55M in Federal Grants

Thu January 27, 2022 - Northeast Edition
Cumberland Times-News


Among the state’s goals is to rebuild U.S. 219, designated as Corridor N, into a modern, four-lane divided highway which extends from Pennsylvania through Maryland into West Virginia.
Among the state’s goals is to rebuild U.S. 219, designated as Corridor N, into a modern, four-lane divided highway which extends from Pennsylvania through Maryland into West Virginia.

The plans to improve U.S. Highway 219 in Garrett County, Md., received a big boost the last week of January when Maryland lawmakers announced that $55 million in federal funding has been awarded to the state to continue construction of part of its highway system.

The money, which consists of $11 million annually for five years, is part of an ongoing effort to transform Maryland's Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), including the last remaining section of the system's "Corridor N" that runs through the region.

Among the state's goals is to rebuild U.S. 219, designated as Corridor N, into a modern, four-lane divided highway which extends from Pennsylvania through Maryland into West Virginia.

A joint announcement on the funding package was issued Jan. 26 by the offices of U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Congressman David Trone.

Although some sections of U.S. 219 have been completed, particularly in Pennsylvania and Maryland, the latest funding will continue construction of a 1.3-mi.-long northeast of Grantsville. The new upgrades will be done on the highway from a portion of U.S. 219 that was finished last year beginning at the interchange of east-west-running Interstate 68 north to Old Salisbury Road.

From that point, the final short section of U.S. 219 to be improved stretches north to the Pennsylvania state line.

The U.S. 219 roadway being funded at Old Salisbury Road will essentially complete the work needed in Maryland for the project, noted Jennifer Walsh, executive director of the Greater Cumberland Committee. She also told the Times-News that the federal money will be a big boost in finishing the U.S. 219 road project.

"Regional collaboration is the common thread in all of our work and we are now seeing the fruits of our labor," said Walsh. "The total cost to complete the section is between $60 and $63 million. We will be very, very close to what we need to finish."

ADHS Projects Rely on Federal Funds

Funding for the improvements to the small section of U.S. Highway 219 in Garrett County comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which included a $1.25 billion investment over five years toward the completion of the ADHS, established by Congress in 1965.

The highway system encompasses 3,090 mi. of roads linking 13 states. Its intention is to improve north-south access and commerce in the mountainous regions of the East Coast.

It also was announced in late January that construction of a portion of ADHS's Corridor H in West Virginia also is receiving federal funding. That roadway is intended to run 130 mi. east from I-79 at Weston to the Virginia border.

A news release issued by West Virginia's U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, along with Rep. David McKinley, announced $37 million in funding for that project in 2022 from President Biden's infrastructure deal. It also will provide nearly $200 million over the next five years for the four-lane highway through the Alleghany Mountains. Proponents say completion of the ADHS will open the rural region to economic development.




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