U.S. 219 (Corridor N) Completion Analysis and Impact Study
Corridor N is an Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS) route that traverses North-South in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and neighboring states. The ADHS was devised in 1965 to improve access between interstate highways and distressed portions of Appalachia. Stakeholders from across Pennsylvania and the Region are engaged in efforts to build a four-lane U.S. 219 between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 68 in Maryland.
In November of 2018, construction was completed to expand the 11-miles of U.S. 219 from two-lanes to four-lanes between Somerset and Meyersdale. In Somerset County, Pennsylvania, between Meyersdale and the Pennsylvania-Maryland Stateline, the only remaining section of two-lane U.S. 219 to be improved is a nearly six-mile stretch of roadway. In Garret County, Maryland, between I-68 and the Pennsylvania-Maryland Stateline, 1.3-miles of four-lane highway is under construction and 1.1-miles is not yet improved.
Recognizing the importance to examine the potential impact completion of four-lane U.S. 219 in the Southern Alleghenies Region would have on regional and multi-state economies, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded SAP&DC $75,000 to conduct the Study. In January 2020, SAP&DC began efforts to listen to businesses from a variety of different industries as well as other stakeholders impacted by the U.S. 219 Corridor.
The Study revealed “the completion of the US-219 corridor is of immense importance to the sustainability, expansion, and profitability of businesses within the region.” Brandon Peters, past Transportation Program Manager at SAP&DC facilitated site visits with several businesses in Garrett County, Maryland and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Peters said “it was clear that these businesses are interested in the opportunities a completed four-lane highway would offer. The businesses we interviewed said they would be able to hire additional employees, expand facilities and operations, reach new markets more easily, and increase annual output.” The Study concludes “a comprehensive qualitative overview of the Southern Alleghenies business environment, the role of the highway system in regional, statewide, and national economic vitality finds that US-219 is expected to significantly enhance workforce access, tourism access and volume, and reduce the risk and resilience costs of transportation for the region and its trading partners.”
On November 10, 2020 PennDOT announced that $6 million has been secured for U.S. 219 in Somerset County. Those funds will be used on the necessary preliminary engineering work on the roughly 6-miles in Pennsylvania that remain to be improved. The Southern Alleghenies Rural Planning Organization and PennDOT, along with partners in Maryland, will be working together to secure the additional funds needed for construction.