CUMBERLAND — The Maryland Department of Transportation will invest nearly $88 million in funding for north-south highway improvements for Garrett and Allegany counties.
MDOT released its Draft Consolidated Transportation Program for fiscal years 2023 to 2028 Thursday, outlining a record $19.9 billion six-year investment statewide to replace and repair aging infrastructure, expand transit opportunities, assist economic recovery and expand the state’s transportation network.
The Greater Cumberland Committee has been a leading proponent of north-south highway improvements for nearly two decades.
“We are excited to share with you MDOT’s commitment to fully fund two key north/south transportation infrastructure projects in the region,” said Jennifer Walsh, TGCC executive director, via email. “Projects include the Maryland portion of U.S. 219 in Garrett County and the Cresaptown Improvement Project. These projects represent years of sustained collective focus and determination to see them to completion.”
The largest portion of the funding, more than $75 million, is designated for improvements to U.S. Route 219 from Old Salisbury Road to the Pennsylvania line. That section will complete Maryland’s portion of Route 219, transforming the north-south corridor into a modern four-lane highway. Maryland completed 1.5 miles of improvements to Route 219 from Interstate 68 to Old Salisbury Road last year.
“This is wonderful news for the whole region,” state Sen. George Edwards (R-Garrett, Allegany, Washington) said. “It puts us in a position to have money in the bank to finish our part of the road and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Pennsylvania to complete this critical infrastructure project.”
In recent months, Pennsylvania has reiterated its goal of completing its portion of the U.S. Route 219 corridor with a $53 million commitment to fund remaining pre-construction activities and by adding the construction phase to its long-term funding plan.
“This announcement by MDOT solidifies Maryland’s commitment to fully fund its portion of this project through construction and, along with Pa.’s recent commitment to finish U.S. 219 by 2031, brings to fruition several decades of work by multiple groups,” said Garrett County Commissioner Paul Edwards.
Nearly $11 million has been designated to improve the triangle in Cresaptown, which encompasses U.S Route 220, Warrior Drive and Winchester Road. The congested area, a main artery to some of the area’s largest employers, has posed challenges to motorists and first responders navigating the route. Improvements will include turn lanes and opening up Winchester Road to two-way traffic.
“Completion of this project will be a major benefit to IBM, Northrop Grumman, American Wooodmark and other key employers in our region by relieving congestion and increasing safety for our employees,” said Jake Shade, Allegany County commissioner.
“It represents a significant investment in the economic prosperity of our region, is critical to facilitating future growth in the U.S. 220 corridor and will have beneficial impacts in Allegany and Mineral counties and beyond,” said Timi Hadra, IBM Partner and Rocket Center Site Executive and chair of the TGCC Board of Directors.
TGCC’s work on the North/South Appalachian Developmental Highway System work spans more than a decade and has resulted in an investment of more than $600 million and significant progress toward the completion of U.S. 219 between I-68 in Maryland and the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset, Pennsylvania.
“For over a decade, TGCC has served as the coordinating organization across three states and multiple counties with the goal of advancing the north/south corridor as a priority economic impact project,” Walsh said. “Today’s news highlights the importance of our sustained collective focus on these projects, which are critical to economic development and prosperity in the region.”
Greg Larry is a reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter.
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