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U.S. 219 (Corridor 21)

Routing

Corridor 21 is Continental One/U.S. 219, which runs from Bluefield, West Virginia, north to Interstate 90 just south of Buffalo, New York. The high priority portion of the U.S. 219 corridor runs from Interstate 86 at Salamanca, New York, north to Interstate 90 at Buffalo, New York. Keep in mind that the high priority corridor does NOT include ARC Corridor N, which is U.S. 219 in Pennsylvania, Maryland, or West Virginia, but ARC Corridor N is part of the Proposed Buffalo to Miami Interstate, known as "Continental One."

Congressman John Murtha, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, championed the U.S. 219 corridor from Bluefield to Buffalo. He saw a need to construct U.S. 219 as a four-lane limited and partial access highway and the need to designate all of U.S. 219 as a high priority corridor for the ISTEA reauthorization. Murtha believes, "a modern Route 219 highway corridor will eliminate the safety problems that exist with the present day Route 219 and furthermore, will stimulate the economy of the 219 Corridor."

According to Murtha, current problems with the entire 219 corridor include narrow berms, narrow roadway, two-lane construction, sharp curves, steep grades, cross traffic, low speed limits passing through towns, and extreme circuity (meaning the trip north to south does not even come close to being a straight line -- there are several twists and turns). Murtha believes this hinders international trade and interregional travel.

Coalition building between Murtha and Former Representative Bud Shuster from Pennsylvania yielded some results. On March 3, 2000, Representative Jack Quinn (R-Hamburg) met with legislators representing many of the districts along the road's 1,500-mile stretch from Toronto to Miami. "In the past," Quinn said after the meeting, "supporters of improved north-south access have concentrated on sections of Route 219 in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia. Now we're approaching legislators up and down the corridor from Buffalo to Miami, whether there is a need for construction in their state or not." The biggest question in New York is whether the state Transportation Department will opt to spend up to $483 million to expand the two lanes of Route 219 from Springville to Salamanca to a four-lane expressway.

However, with Shuster's resignation in January 2001, the Continental One Corridor is again mired in controversy. Since Shuster was the head of the House Transportation Committee, his clout is no longer available to assist proponents of the Corridor One route. In the article "House changes imperil Rt. 219 plan" in the Buffalo News by Douglas Turner, dated January 6, 2001, Shuster's resignation was a setback.

TBackers of a proposed Toronto-Miami expressway via Buffalo will need to find another heavyweight in Congress to carry their message, with the retirement under an ethics cloud of the former House Transportation Committee chairman. Replacing Chairman Bud Shuster, a Republican whose district was in south central Pennsylvania, is Arkansas Republican Don Young. "We may have to go back to the drawing board and reconfigure where we are now," said a senior Buffalo-area staffer, who spoke on condition he not be identified.

TContinental One, as the highway scheme is known, would use an expanded Route 219 from Springville to Salamanca. Its success hinged on persuading Pennsylvania state highway officials to divert funds to developing winding Route 219 instead of the on-going program to expand the Route 15 corridor between Williamsport and the Harrisburg area.

TShuster, who was said to be able to create an expressway with a flick of his pen, represented an answer to Route 219's problem. He was one of the few in Congress to expand highway and transit funding, and his retirement could mean a major setback to Continental One. Erie County sources said Continental One organizers last year were considering hiring one of Shuster's sons, William or Robert, to lobby for the idea. Now, Shuster's son, William, may run in his father's district. But even if elected, it would take him a generation to match his father's one-time sway over transportation spending.

TThe Pataki administration is weighing a plan to spend upwards of $500 million on improving the Springville-Salamanca segment.

As originally designated in 1991, the U.S. 219 high priority corridor went from New York 17 north to Interstate 90 at Buffalo. The 1998 TEA-21 legislation extended the high priority status south to Interstate 80.

Interstate Aspirations: The Continental One World Trade and Travel Corridor

Murtha wants U.S. 219 to be upgraded to an Interstate highway. "The completion of this corridor as an international trade route with designation as an Interstate would have a great impact on the socio-economic condition of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and New York, as well as other areas of the Eastern Seaboard that would benefit from the improved access to the largest trading partner of our nation -- Canada."

Murtha intially referred to this corridor as "The Continental One World Trade and Travel Corridor," which would would follow current U.S. 219 between Buffalo, NY, through Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia, ending in Virginia just south of Bluefield, WV. South of Bluefield, the corridor would use a short piece of VA-100 to connect it to Interstate 77. This will provide connection to Interstate 26 and Interstate 95, which provides a Continental North-South Highway linking Buffalo to Miami.

"The Continental One World Trade and Travel Corridor" is an unwieldy title, so it was shortened to "Continental One" Corridor. In earlier versions of this page, I had opined that "The Continental One World Trade and Travel Corridor" sounds like some sort of corporate endorsement for a highway, like the Carquest or Insight.com bowls are for college football games.

Map of U.S. 219 Corridor

A U.S. 219 Corridor map is available at Rep. John Murtha's Home Page.

Reasons to Upgrade the U.S. 219 Corridor

Murtha lists several reasons why to upgrade the U.S. 219 Corridor. Here is a summary of reasons based on his Pro-Route 219 Corridor web page. Here's a summary of these points:

  • The border crossings between Ontario and New York State in and around Buffalo and Niagara Falls are responsible for $35.8 billion worth of trade annually, which is the second biggest border crossing of the United States.
  • If upgraded to Interstate status, U.S. 219 provide a faster link and shorter link from the Middle-Atlantic cities of Baltimore, Washington, and Norfolk to the industrial cities of Toronto and Buffalo. U.S. 219 is 85 miles shorter.
  • The oft-cited economic benefits typically touted by new highway proponents would assist the poorer economies of the Appalachian region.
  • U.S. 219 would provide another NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) corridor.
  • Since U.S. 219 currently passes through small towns with 90-degree turns and slow speed limits, has grades as steep as 8%, and many dangrous curves, it is not a feasible route for trade traffic from Canada through Pennsylvania.

While these points are well and good, I have to note that these same arguments -- with variations -- have been used to justify roads the new Interstate 69, Interstate 73/74, Coalfields Expressway, and Corridor H. If all of these roads are built, will the economic benefit be the same as promised? And what of U.S. 219's proximity to Interstate 99 and Corridor 9?

U.S. 219 (Corridor 21) in New York

U.S. 219 in New York is currently freeway from its northern terminus along the New York Thruway (Interstate 90) south to NY-39 at Springville. Plans are to continue the freeway, or at least an interim Super Two or expressway, south to Interstate 86. Money for this upgrade has been appropriated from the original ISTEA and NHS legislation as a part of High Priority Corridor 21, but federal money tied to ISTEA was mostly unavailable for the other parts of the U.S. 219 Corridor. More federal money became available for U.S. 219 with the passage of TEA-21: $40 million came with the latest list of appropriations.

On April 30, 1998, the New York DOT released the draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for U.S. 219 improvements. The DEIS outlines options for improving 28 miles of U.S. Route 219, a two-lane rural arterial, between Springville and Salamanca in Cattaraugus and Erie Counties. The proposed project begins at the southern end of the existing four-lane divided U.S. Route 219 Expressway at NY Route 39 in Springville and continues south along U.S. Route 219 to NY 17 (Future Interstate 86, Southern Tier Expressway) in Salamanca. The project crosses the Towns of Concord, Ashford, Ellicottville and Great Valley, the Villages of Springville and Ellicottville, the City of Salamanca and Lands of the Seneca Nation.

The alternatives being considered in the DEIS include:

  • Null Alternative - This alternative includes continuing normal maintenance activities on the existing highway.
  • Upgrade Alternative - Estimated Construction Cost: $224.3 million - This alternative includes the reconstruction and widening of U.S. Route 219 between Springville and Salamanca. The existing two-lane highway would be widened to four lanes with shoulders through most of this section, with a four-lane bypass constructed around the Village of Ellicottville and an improved connection to New York 17 (Future Interstate 86/Southern Tier Expressway) near the City of Salamanca.
  • Freeway Alternative - Estimated Construction Cost: $485.9 million - This alternative includes the construction of a new four-lane divided freeway between Springville and Salamanca. Connecting with the existing U.S. Route 219 Expressway in Springville, the new freeway would extend south through the Towns of Concord, Ashford, Ellicottville and Great Valley, where it would connect with NY Route 17 (Future Interstate 86/Southern Tier Expressway) on Lands of the Seneca Nation at Allegany east of the City of Salamanca.

The improved transportation system, with its inherent reduction in travel times and travel costs, would act as a catalyst in encouraging the growth in industries that capitalize on these transportation advantages. Estimates indicate that the Upgrade Alternative could encourage the creation/retention of 8,100 more long-term jobs in Western New York than the Null Alternative. The Freeway Alternative could encourage the creation/retention of 28,700 more long-term jobs.

Public hearings that will be held in mid-July, 1998, by the NYS DOT. In late 1998, DOT will seek approval from the FHWA for the selected alternative, and then begin final design of the project. Under the current schedule, construction could begin in early 2001.

The north end of the U.S. 219 Corridor links to Interstate 90 and Interstate 190. These two Interstates connect to the Niagara Frontier of bridges into Canada, including the Peace Bridge and three other bridges closer to Niagara Falls. According to Murtha, U.S. 219 offers a more direct route to the growth market across the Niagara Frontier. In Buffalo, the Peace Bridge Authority is planning a sister bridge for completion in August of 2002 because of the anticipated traffic.

According to the article, "Speed is hardly in works for Rte. 219 south of Springville" (by Michael Levy) from the Buffalo News of December 19, 1999, the U.S. 219 project has been on the books for awhile and will likely take time to be completed.

Ever since it reached Springville 20 years ago, the Route 219 Expressway to Salamanca has been a ghost road, haunting the future of Southern Erie, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.

Now the route of the 28 miles from Springville to the Killbuck Interchange of the Southern Tier Expressway might soon be agreed upon. But don't look for construction of the first three miles any earlier than 2004, maybe 2005, and don't expect the entire stretch to be completed until after the first quarter of the 21st century has passed.

"Right now we have $40 million in federal highway funds, enough to do the first three miles, using the 20-percent state cost-share formula that's been in effect," said Gary Gottlieb of the state Department of Transportation's "priority project" department. "We are a little behind schedule on our environmental impact statement, but that should be done and agreed to before July and then we will need two years to do final design and property acquisition."

The EIS has two parts, a "programmatic agreement" between the DOT, the Federal Highway Administration, the state Office of Historic Preservation, the National Advisory Council for Historic Preservation and the Seneca Nation, over whose land the last southerly mile of the freeway would pass. Once completed the freeway would go through Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. And the "freeway option" seems to be the one preferred.

"We could do nothing. That is Option 1," Gottlieb said. "Option 2 is the freeway, and Option 3 is to widen the existing road. The freeway option will cost $500 million in today's dollars, so it will have to be built in sections, funded each time a new federal highway bill is authorized. Whether we start at Springville and head south, or start at the Allegany Reservation, which the Seneca Nation may desire, is not decided." The freeway option would cut off only two of the existing roads it passes, and would leave the current 219 in use, though it would likely be renumbered, the DOT believes.

From Springville, the freeway would pass to the west of the existing Wal-Mart, then cross to the east side of the present 219, east of Ashford and stay east, parallel to the existing highway. "We'd be about two miles east of Ellicottville," Gottlieb said. "You probably would not see the freeway from that village." The road would stay east of Great Valley, then cut through the Bartlett Hills to the Kill Buck interchange under the current alignment. From Salamanca, a four-lane divided highway, albeit with crossroads and driveways, leads to Bradford, Pa., where 219 becomes a freeway again.

The scheme shows seven or eight interchanges to Southern Tier communities on the new freeway, but that could change as designs are refined. The final design won't begin until the impact statement has been accepted by the communities along the way and by the Seneca Nation. "I hope that will be done this spring," Gottlieb said. "After the final design and right-of-way is negotiated in another two or three years we could turn earth in 2004 for the first three-mile section and finish that in two years, going full speed. As for opening the entire 28 miles, that's really a matter of dollars," the planner said. "If we keep getting small amounts, like we have in the last federal highway bill, I doubt the entire road would be open as early as 2025."

U.S. 219 in Pennsylvania: the Bud Shuster Factor

Congressman Murtha, who is from Pennsylvania, has quite a bit of detail related to the U.S. 219 Corridor in Pennsylvania. He believes that this corridor will provide traffic relief for Interstates 77, 79, 80, 81, 83, 90, 95, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76). Since the U.S. 15 Corridor is about 100 miles east of U.S. 219 and ends in Rochester via Interstate 390, Murtha says that much of the Canadian-bound traffic takes the Pennsylvania Turnpike around Pittsburgh to Interstate 79, which is sixty miles west of the U.S. 219 corridor. This may contribute to the congestion on the Turnpike at the Allegheny Tunnel and between New Stanton and Interstate 79. Murtha suggests that this will be relieved with the construction of U.S. 219 as an Interstate highway.

On the other hand, the U.S. 219 corridor planned in Pennsylvania is facing a direct threat from Congressman Bud Shuster, a Republican famous for his Interstate 99 (U.S. 220). C.C. Slater, who has traveled both U.S. 219 and 220 extensively, tells me that it is very unlikely that Shuster will allow for an Interstate highway along U.S. 219 while he is still trying to secure funds for Interstate 99.

At the same time Corridor 21 was extended south from New York 17 to Interstate 80, Corridor 9 was extended to include U.S. 322 from Interstate 80 southeast to Interstate 99. As a result, a north-south Interstate corridor will be formed from Buffalo via U.S. 219 south to DuBois, U.S. 322 southeast to State College, via Interstate 99 to Bedford, Pennsylvania turnpike to Breezewood, PA, to Interstate 70 to Interstate 81 and/or Interstate 95. TEA-21 also removed any tolls on the Pennsylvania turnpike between Bedford to Breezewood. At the same, U.S. 220 between Bedford and the Maryland line was removed from being eligible for ARC funding. U.S. 322 from Port Matilda to Interstate 80 was put in U.S. 220's place. Some proponents of a U.S. 219 Interstate highway fear that this rerouting may doom the chances of upgrading U.S. 219 south of Interstate 80.

The Meyersdale Bypass was completed in Jan 99. There is now a project underway to connect the US 219 expressway stub-end just SE of Somerset with the northern end of the Meyersdale Bypass.

For more, here's C.C. Slater:

TIH 67 on US 219? Not in Bud's lifetime! He's come around when the locals were rumbling about this idea last June, and gave it some lip service, but that's the extent of it. It's not gonna happen. US 219 is the redheaded stepchild of SW/W PA highways. They've been promising to finish the Somerset to IH 68 section since 1973 when the eastern Somerset Bypass was opened.

TThere are a lot of problems with this: There's opposition to running 219 through the State Game Lands at its current southern end. The Turnpike commision is going to open a PA 43 tollway south from Uniontown, which will tie into IH 68 just east of WV exit 10 at Cheat Lake.

TBud and Parris Glendenning (Maryland's governor) also want to extend "99" south to tie in with IH 68. Glendenning's intent in this is reasonably honest: US 220's short section east of Cumberland MD north to PA is a deathtrap and badly needs realignment. There are already approved plans on the books for at least a Super 2 replacement, and I believe it's up to the ROW purchase stage -- and then Maryland ran out of money! A Maryland extension of "99" would solve the problem of funding. The resulting road would take truck traffic of the existing road, which resembles a two lane residential street.

TWith all this going on, US 219 has gotten overlooked -- accidentally on purpose, since an improved US 219 might siphon traffic off an extended "99" or take tolls off of PA 43. This would make expenditures on the other two roads hard to justify [since US 219 lies between the two roads].

TUS 219 has had funding for a freeway upgrade taken from it any number of times. Back in 1988, Bob Casey (then Pennsylvania Governor) took funds slated for US 219 and applied them to the completion of US 220 and the tripling of the Allegany Tunnel on the PA Turnpike. The former project resulted in the completion of the US 220 freeway from Bedford to Bald Eagle, nearly eight years before Bud's declaration of the "99" Shusterway.

The competition for funding might lead to a clash between Democratic Congressman Murtha and Republican Congressman Shuster, depending on the scarcity of funds. Murtha and Shuster both want to secure funding for their corridors, but it seems unlikely that both roads will be upgraded in the short-term. Funding is a centerpiece of the 219-220 debate, since Shuster champions his "truth in budgeting" bill, which would free up money currently used to balance the budget for highway construction. This bill is opposed by the Democrats, of which Congressman Murtha is a member. You gotta love partisan politics!

Since Shuster is currently the chair of the House Transportation Committee, it seems likely that he will get his way -- at least for now. For more on funding efforts for upgrading U.S. 220 in State College and Cumberland, see the Corridor 9 page. David Moe, of the Garrett County (Maryland) Chamber of Commerce, says that while U.S. 220 is "near and dear to Shuster's heart," it is clear that Shuster is not against a highway like U.S. 219 since he has "allocated a substantial sum for trade corridor planning and development, " in his proposed BESTEA legislation, "which is the first step in the interstate and highway development process."

U.S. 219 between Interstate 80 near DuBois, Penn., and N.Y. 17 near Springville, N.Y., has been added to Shuster's BESTEA reauthorization package (BESTEA is unratified by Congress as of December 1997) primarily due to the efforts of a House Congressional 219 alliance. This alliance consists of the Congressional representatives from the entire corridor, including Congressman Jack Quinn. Quinn was instrumental in having Congressman Shuster conduct a one day field hearing on U.S. 219 in Buffalo on October 8, 1996. This occured at the same time that AASHTO held its annual meeting in Buffalo.

$8 million was appropriated in the 1991 ISTEA legislation for "truck driving lanes and safety improvements" on U.S. 219 from Interstate 80 to the PA/NY state line.

The four-lane, divided, 5.1-mile bypass for U.S. 219 around Meyersdale was completed in January 1999. The state of Pennsylvania is also studying an upgrade to the section from that bypass north to Somerset, where it will connect to the existing 55-mile section of four-lane, limited access highway all the way to Ebensburg.

Congressman Murtha was able to secure $ 7 million for "pre-engineering" work in TEA-21 for the section of U.S. 219 from the just completed Meyersdale, PA, bypass north to Somerset, PA, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. That work and design should be complete by TEA-21 expiration and thus be ready for construction funding via TEA-21's re-authorization.

U.S. 219 in Maryland

U.S. 219 between Somerset and Grantsville has a substantial quantity of trucks using the road, especially coal trucks. There is an increasingly good deal of commerce between Johnstown, Somerset, and Grantsville.

The Maryland Transportation Department has begun a "feasibility study" of the ARC Corridor N, a 2.6 mile section, as a four-lane, divided, limited access roadway from Interstate 68 to the MD/PA line. MDOT has hired a consultant to prepare this "feasibility study" and the total cost is between $ 35 - 40,000. The feasibility report will be done in the spring/summer of 1998.

U.S. 219 in West Virginia

The concept of the U.S. 219 / Corridor N trade and travel corridor has received the endorsement of one governor, Cecil Underwood of West Virginia. This is interesting to note since West Virginia stands to gain plenty of new roads and economic gain via Corridor H, Interstate 73/74, and now U.S. 219. The U.S. 219 Association (at one time known as the Continental One World Trade and Travel Corridor and now the Continental One Association) has been lobbying Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge and Maryland Governor Parris Glendening.

A District Court Judge has dismissed environmental challenges to the construction of ARC corridor H which is 219 from Elkins to Davis or about 40 miles. That will be constructed as four-lane divided but not limited access. Right-of-way acquisition has already begun, but it will be ten to fifteen years before it is complete.

Some are concerned about the environmental impacts of the construction of an Interstate-grade facility through the West Virginia mountains. According to several reports, U.S. 219 is rather narrow, windy, and scenic, especially south of Interstate 64. I will be interested to hear how these environmental concerns will be mitigated.

U.S. 219 as Interstate 67

Congressman Murtha has requested that the House Transportation Committee "consider the recent recommendation that U.S. 219 from Interstate 68 north to Route 22 be designated as Interstate 67, and that this designation be extended as adjoining sections of modern highway are built."

Years ago, plans were to build an Interstate 67 in the Midwest, linking South Bend, Indiana, with Kalamazoo, Michigan. It seems that those plans have been on hiatus or cancelled, although the U.S. 131 and 31 freeways have been slowly built further south from Michigan into Indiana. With the resurrection of the number in relation to the U.S. 219 corridor, it seems more likely that Interstate 67 will be used for NHS High Priority Corridor 21.

History of the Continental One (U.S. 219) Association

In the early 1970s, there was a "Route 219 Association" in 1962 or 1963 proposing the U.S. 219 freeway. The Route 219 Association's proposal included the "Map with the Gap" showing surrounding interstates that avoided the DuBois corridor. This DuBois, like the Wyoming Dubois, is pronounced "Doo Boyz."

The Route 219 Association -- now called Continental One Association -- was never dead, but it had been dormant for a number of years. In the spring of 1996, the Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation, Brad Mallory, came to Somerset, Pennsylvania, where he was quoted on the front page of the local newspaper in a large headline reading, "Chances of 219 -- Slim & None."

The Somerset County Chamber of Commerce and elected officials were "livid." This, coincidentally, came at the beginning of the rejuvenation of the 219 Association in preparation for the ISTEA reauthorization legislation. The various Chambers and county governments between Johnstown and Garrett County co-sponsored a "219 Stakeholders" conference on May 30, 1996, in Somerset and invited Secretary Mallory but he sent his resident engineer for the region in his place.

As a result of this stakeholders conference a 219 Steering Committee was formed under the leadership of Steve Mayer, Operations Manager of the Peace Bridge Authority in Buffalo, NY. On this committee had representatives all along the U.S. 219 corridor from southern West Virginia to Buffalo with the Greater Buffalo Partnership.

There has been a concerted effort by the Route 219 Association in the last two years (since 1995, the year the NHS Act was passed) to lobby for conversion of U.S. 219 from Buffalo, NY to Bluefield, VA, to be upgraded to an Interstate.

At the last annual of the Route 219 Association meeting, it renamed itself the "Continental One Trade and Travel Corridor Association." The idea is to form a North/ South Interstate Transportation system from Toronto, Ontario, to Miami, Florida, via U.S. 219, Interstate 77, Interstate 26, and Interstate 95.

In Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia, delegations from the association have met with their respective Secretaries of Transportation to discuss this long term project. The Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary, Brad Mallory changed his tune and was invited to be the association's guest speaker last Oct. 28, for the association's annual meeting. The year before the guest speaker was Congressman Bud Shuster.

The Continental One Trade and Travel Corridor Association -- now the Continental One Association -- is attempting to add the entire 219-77-26-95 corridor to the ISTEA reauthorization package. Currently, in Congressman Shuster's "BESTEA" legislation (which has not been ratified as of December 1997), the U.S. 219 "high priority corridor 21" has been extended southward to Interstate 80 at DuBois, but not all the way to Miami.

An Opinion on U.S. 219 and Corridor 9

In case you're wondering, yes, I do get letters about highway corridors. Please read the following from an AOL correspondent (Chris W.) on March 2, 1999 about the U.S. 219 Corridor:

This is in regards to your Interstate 67 (?) US-219 Corridor. I realize the importance of a trade corridor that would better link Buffalo to the Baltimore/D.C. area, but I think the proposed route that they (Murtha, NYSDOT, PennDOT) have in mind is too expensive, time consuming, and in a word, Wasteful! I know that Murtha is from the Johnstown area, and this corridor would greatly effect Johnstown, but I think following US 219 is the wrong way to go.

TA while back I heard Senator Arlen Spector (R-Pennsylvania) talk of extending Interstate 83 north of its current ending in Harrisburg, PA. I have come to agree with him on this issue and am surprised that you don't list it as a viable option, since the Senator proposed it! This route would better link Buffalo to Baltimore/D.C. and the Norfolk area, and most of it is already constructed as a four-lane, limited access, divided highway. You might want to get out your map for this.

TThis route would start in Niagara Falls along the current Interstate 190 then flow south to Interstate 90 outside of Buffalo. Then head east on route 400 until connecting with Alt. US 20. You will have to reconstruct about 30 miles of Alt. US 20 into a four-lane, divided highway. The corridor would then connect with Interstate 390, turn south on Interstate 390 until connecting with route 17 (Interstate 86). The corridor will then transgress from route 17 onto US 15 and travel south into Pennsylvania toward Williamsport. Most of US 15 between Williamsport and NY is already either 4 lane, divided highway, or 'Super Two' built on a four-lane right of way. The corridor will replace the current Interstate 180 from Williamsport to Interstate 80.

TThen continue south on PA 147 (already four-lane, divided, highway) around Milton, PA. The highway will then have to cross the Susquehanna River, either by building a new bridge or by utilizing the one that currently crosses the river at Northumberland, PA. From this point on, the corridor follows US 11/15 south until connecting with US 22/322 in Duncannon, PA, just north of Harrisburg. PennDOT will complete the Dauphin Bypass, which will be a new four-lane, limited access highway, in late 1999. This is the US 22/322 connector from Interstate 81 in Harrisburg to the Clarks Ferry Bridge and US 11/15. The corridor then swings east on Interstate 81 meeting up with Interstate 83 just two exits away. Now, the corridor will follow Interstate 83 from Harrisburg to York and Baltimore.

TThere are currently several transportation improvement projects along Interstate 83 that have either been recently completed or soon will be. Harrisburg has also begun its Intelligent Transportation System, which will dramatically reduce drive-time by feeding valuable information to motorists about traffic patterns, congestion, weather, and backups. Since most of this proposed corridor is already constructed as a four-lane, limited access highway, it is definitely an option that should be considered for a Canada/Buffalo to Baltimore/D.C. connection. This route, I believe could just be signed Interstate 83 from Harrisburg to Buffalo, NY, to coincide with Interstate route numbering (and it won't be out of whack, like Interstate 67 or Interstate 99, or even a proposal to assign Interstate 97 for the Mon-Fayette Expressway, what's going on here???).

TThis corridor will also dramatically reduce deforestation and negative environmental impacts in construction and rehabilitation of the roadway, as compared to the US 219 option, which travels along a narrow hazardous right of ways. This translates into hundreds of millions of more tax payer dollars to upgrade the US 219 corridor and build the new roadway. The Interstate 83 proposed corridor will also travel through and around more urbanized areas, providing for even more economic development than traveling along rural US 219. This route will tie up with distribution hubs in Harrisburg, Baltimore, and nearby Washington D.C. It will be closer to Philadelphia, New York, Richmond, Norfolk, and smaller cities in Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland and Virginia. Why should more money, time, and materials be spent on a roadway that doesn't connect to the people.

TThanks for reading my letter and I hope to hear your thoughts on what I and others have suggested to PennDOT. I also hope that you will give this some thought and add it to your page as a viable option. I emailed Congressman Murtha (R-Pennsylvania) about this but have not yet heard back from him. You might try and get his thoughts on this, yourself!

Page Updated June 9, 2002.