Cumberland Times-News

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September 21, 2013

Md./W.Va. officials pick preliminary corridor for revamped U.S. 220

CUMBERLAND — State officials in Maryland and West Virginia have selected a preferred corridor for a revamped U.S. Route 220, which will link the road up to Corridor H in West Virginia. The road is part of the concept for the North—South Highway running from Pennsylvania to Corridor H.

The Federal Highway Administration’s Record of Decision is expected during early winter of 2014 for the Tier I Project Planning Study, said Charlie Gischlar of the Maryland State Highway Administration.

The proposed selection of Corridor B still requires federal approval. If forthcoming, the federal OK would allow the project to move into stage two, or Tier II of the planning process.

“During Tier II, detailed alternatives of potential transportation improvements within the selected corridor are developed,” according to the Maryland SHA website. Funding of $5 million is now available for the Tier II planning work, said Gischlar.

“The Tier II Project Planning Study is expected to be completed in approximately three years after the Tier I Project Planning Study is complete,” Gischlar said.

According to Gischlar, the decision to recommend Corridor B was made in June. The recommendation was made by the administrators of West Virginia and Maryland. Once the recommended corridor has been concurred upon by the Federal Highway Administration, there will be a formal announcement, he said.

The recommendation has been listed on the SHA website. A possible corridor D spur could be part of the recommended route for the last few miles at the northern end of the route in Maryland. The number of routes within Corridor B has not been determined at this time. Once the project moves to the Tier II phase, detailed engineering work will determine the number of alternatives that will be considered. Through this process, alternatives will ultimately be narrowed down to one alignment, SHA officials said.

The complete concept of the proposed road would run from Interstate 68 near Cumberland south nearly parallel to existing U.S. 220 to Corridor H in Grant County, W.Va., and north into Pennsylvania from U.S. Route 219 up to the turnpike. It is touted by local officials and project backers as a key economic development project for the region.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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