Route 219 soon to be open to the public
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for four-lane Route 219 from Somerset to Meyersdale is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 21.
“This has been a long time coming,” PennDOT District 9 Executive Thomas Prestash said. “We are very enthusiastic and thrilled with the opening of 219.”
Officials confirmed that the ribbon-cutting, now 40 years in the making, will be held where the new highway begins in Somerset. The event will feature officials and politicians responsible for getting the 11-mile stretch of concrete roadway completed.
“First and foremost, it is a much safer highway overall,” Prestash said. “It is great for the communities and connecting goods to the area.”
Prestash said that overall the project went well.
“We’ve always said opening the fall of 2018, and we are hitting that milestone with all three contracts,” he said. “It is a much safer corridor, and I am very pleased how the project went and how each contract worked very well.”
The project cost $330 million for design and construction, according to PennDOT. The earthwork was completed by the Joseph B. Fay Co., of Tarentum, for $124 million. Fay also completed the bridges for $74 million. New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. won the $58 million paving contract. Work began in August 2013.
The EADS Group, an engineering firm in Somerset, released this statement about its involvement in the project.
“For this mammoth project, a portion of the construction inspection and all environmental services were provided by The EADS Group. As part of the environmental services EADS provided monitoring oversight of all wetland and stream impacts, relocations, and mitigation areas. EADS also provided real time water quality information to various state and federal regulatory agencies as per the Compensatory Mitigation Plan and Permit special conditions. These also require the stream mitigation areas to be monitored for a total of five years and wetland mitigation areas a total of ten years. EADS was also tasked with conducting macroinvertebrate sampling of various watercourses and reporting the results in an annual report,” the statement reads.
Somerset County Commissioner John Vatavuk said he is looking forward to the opening.
“I am elated that the road will soon be open to the public to travel to Meyersdale,” he said. “It’s been a long time coming, 40 years to be exact. Even though this section will open, we must not lose sight of the fact that we still need 5 1/2 miles to link up to Route 68 (in Maryland).”