The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

February 14, 2013

Route 219 timbering to begin

Key step toward highway

JOHNSTOWN — Anyone driving on Route 219 south of Somerset today likely will see and maybe hear some long-awaited activity, a step toward a new four-lane highway.

In an announcement late Thursday, U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, said two contractors will start today cutting down 250 acres of trees on the right of way of the new alignment for the long-awaited highway between Somerset and Meyersdale.

“I think this is the greatest news in Somerset County in 40 years,” said county Commissioner John Vatavuk. “This leg of Route 219 was the campaign issue I ran on in 2007.”

Timing on the cutting of the trees is paramount because they have to be felled by the end of March, when the Indiana bat comes out of underground hibernation to nest, a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service told The Tribune-Democrat last week.

The bat is protected as a federal endangered species.

Getting the trees on the ground will take place over the next six weeks. Turning them into lumber then can begin, according to a release from Shuster’s office.

A delay in the cutting likely  would have postponed bid letting for construction of the project until next year, officials said Thursday.

K.W. Reese Inc. of Mercersburg and Beeghly Tree Service LLC of Somerset have been awarded contracts for the tree removal.

“This project has been a long time in the making and it’s great to see it finally getting off the ground,” Shuster said in a statement. “Completing Route 219 has long been one of my highest priorities in Congress.”

The $300 million project was long held up by a lack of state money.

Because the highway is part of the congressionally designated Appalachian Highway Development System, 80 percent of the money was available. Stopping the project was the 20 percent state share.

Shuster and others were able to have the language in MAP-21, the federal highway legislation adopted last year, changed to allow the project to be funded 100 percent using AHDS money.

PennDOT District 9 executive Tom Prestash was elated with news of the timbering.

“This is a monumental step for us,” he said. “This is obviously a step in the right direction.”

PennDOT still is waiting for a federal permit and two permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection before bids can be let, a process Prestash hopes to see in the spring.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Denne, Williams & Stanton Records hearing scheduled

    A Cambria County judge will consider complaints filed by two Johnstown residents seeking documents related to the city’s municipal waste water operation at hearing at the end of this month.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sen. Bob Casey Casey targets heroin

    The heroin trade has brought addiction, death, violence and theft to Johnstown and other Pennsylvania communities.
    Figuring out how to deal with those issues is difficult for local, state and federal officials.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Drive-in to open with high-tech projector

    Drive-in movie theaters and the term “state of the art” seldom share the same sentence.
    But that will soon be the case for the Silver Drive-In, it’s owner said. The Scalp Avenue site, often marketed as a nostalgic summer night escape, soon will boast a high-end projector capable of displaying the latest and greatest blockbusters in razor sharp high-definition, theater owner Rick Rosco said.

    April 18, 2014

  • Sheetz work underway

    Earthmoving is underway at Richland Town Centre for a nearly 6,500-square-foot Sheetz store.
    And the real estate broker marketing the land says a 3,000-square-foot retail building will be built next door.

    April 18, 2014

  • Smith, Shakir Mosi Police seize heroin, money in Prospect

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. Friday. An arrest warrant has been issued for the man be­lieved to be the owner or renter of the two homes raided.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Comedy night targets serious problem

    Animal advocates are using comedy to take aim at a serious problem.
    The third annual Funny Fundraiser to benefit the Nardecchia Spay and Neuter Fund will be held at 8 p.m. May 16 at Ace’s, 316 Chestnut St. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

    April 18, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/19/2014

    April 18, 2014

  • Early morning police raid in Prospect area leads to arrest warrant

    Johnstown police reported that several bricks of heroin, along with $4,000 in cash and a handgun, were discovered in the city's Prospect neighborhood around 4 a.m. this morning.

    April 18, 2014

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 18, 2014

  • new councilman Judge fills City Council vacancy

    A lifelong Johnstown resident who has never sought election to public office was named Thursday to fill the vacancy on City Council.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo


Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads