Construction of a widened, realigned U.S. Route 219 in Somerset County will go forward despite concerns raised by environmental groups.
U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Blair, announced Wednesday that the 11.4-mile project from Meyersdale to just south of Somerset had received the final needed permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.
"With the final permit in place, we can begin the bidding process on the project and then actually begin construction later this summer. This critical north-south route is essential to greater economic development and a better way of life for everyone in central Pennsylvania," Mr. Shuster said in a news release.
When the five years of construction is complete, Route 219 will have four lanes from Meyersdale to Route 22 in Ebensburg.
In a filing with the Corps of Engineers, the Mountain Watershed Association had said the environmental review process was flawed and called for another round of studies to measure impacts on an endangered bat species, streams and wetlands.
The $305 million project has been in the planning stages since 1965.