Route 219 extension set to open summer 2018

Somerset County, Pa. - Construction crews are paving the way for drivers in Somerset County.

The 11-mile Route 219 extension will connect Somerset to Meyersdale. The four-lane highway features six new bridges.

"I feel very confident that we will have the project ready to open up to traffic in late summer 2018," said Tom Helsel, PennDOT Project Manager.

Helsel has been the project manager since construction began in 2013. The $236 million project is federally funded through Appalachian Highway Funding.

"I was elated to find out we had the financing and the funding to do this project," Helsel said.

Construction crews finished the first phase of the project, earthwork and drainage, last year. Wednesday, workers poured the last of the concrete for the second structure-building phase.

The final major undertaking is paving the roads.

Crews are on track to finish paving the highways, shoulders and ramps by the end of October before they shutdown construction for the winter.

"This winter, we'll still be working on cleanup of the project. We'll also have a lot of the conversion for the environmental and sedimentation," Helsel said.

Workers will pick back up in the spring. They will pave the last three miles and add final touches on the highway.

"Line painting, rumble strips, delineators, reflectors, signing," said Helsel.

There will still be about six miles left to connect Route 219 with I-68 in Maryland. Helsel said he hopes county officials find funding for the project because of the economic impact it could drive into teh region.

"Everyone from the northern part of Cambria County to the Maryland line is very happy to see this project done, because it will connect us all and provide opportunities for economic development for our counties," Helsel said.

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