Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

May 21, 2013

What are chances this much money will be spent on road?

I was intrigued by cost data summarized in reporter Kathy Mellott’s recent article, “Completing southern link of U.S. Route 219 said to be best use of highway funds,” which appeared in the Cumberland Times-News on Tuesday May 14 (Page 1A).

The article states that the “design and construction costs of the final leg of U.S. 219 in Pennsylvania, a 3- to 4-mile stretch from Meyersdale to the Maryland line and Interstate 68,” are estimated to be $250 million.

Assuming a 4-mile stretch of highway, this works out to $62.5 million per mile. Are these numbers accurate? Apparently they are, based on comments in the article from Ed Silvetti, executive director of the regional Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission, and Dave Moe, coordinator of the North/South Appalachian Highway Corridor.

Can these numbers be used to extrapolate costs for designing and constructing a North/South highway from Cumberland to Moorefield, W.Va., where the new highway would intersect Corridor H? If they can, the cost would be almost $3.5 billion to design and construct this 55-mile stretch of highway.

If these numbers are anywhere near accurate, is it likely that much progress will be made any time soon on the North/South highway, especially in the current political and financial climate?

Maybe it’s time to rethink our regional economic development priorities.

Dale Sams

Cumberland

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