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I-81 road projects get funds

May 23, 1998

By GUY FLETCHER

Staff Writer

Road improvements along Interstate 81 will receive more than $8 million in federal funds as part of the $204 billion transportation spending package approved Friday by Congress.

Included among the Tri-State area expenditures will be $3 million in federal funds for improvements in the I-81/Halfway Boulevard area. Most of that money, about $2 million, will be used to build a new railroad bridge on Halfway Boulevard near Hopewell Road, said Washington County Administrator Rodney M. Shoop.

"This $3 million will be a tremendous help to us," Shoop said.

Shoop and other county officials had originally hoped for $4 million in federal funds for the project, which is designed to alleviate traffic congestion in the well-traveled area through a series of improvements.

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He said it is too early to tell what impact the reduction will have on the project.

But Shoop said any amount of federal money is going to help, particularly since the Halfway Boulevard area is a key corridor for new and growing companies in the area.

"To promote economic development, you try to stay up with or ahead of the requirements for vehicle traffic," he said.

Also included in the list of area projects in the transportation legislation is $26 million for additional interchange improvements at Interstate 70 and Interstate 270 in Frederick, Md.

U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, R-Md., voted against the package, calling it a "morale busting bill" for U.S. veterans.

"Building this nation's roads on the backs of people who fought and risk their lives to protect us is perfectly ridiculous," said Bartlett, who claimed that the president and congressional leadership "offers up veterans benefits as a budget 'offset.'"

Federal highway projects in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle include:

- $5.05 million in Berkeley County for a new highway interchange on I-81 near City Hospital.

U.S. Rep. Bob Wise, D-W.Va., said the money will cover nearly the entire cost of engineering and construction of the exit, which has been a priority for local leaders.

"I am very happy that we will soon be able to move this project from the pen-and-paper stage to the steel-and-asphalt stage," said Wise, who voted for the package.

- $2 million to continue work on U.S. 340 in Jefferson County that will expand the road to four lanes all the way to the Virginia border.

- $200,000 in Berkeley County for a new left-turn lane and stop light at the intersection of W.Va. 9 and Short Road.

In addition, continuing efforts in Martinsburg to create an intermodal center accessible to rail, bus and car traffic will receive an unspecified part of a $10 million statewide transit grant.

Officials in U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster's office said the package included $7.8 million in funding for projects in Franklin and Fulton counties.

"I believe this legislation is one of the most significant bipartisan achievements since Republicans took control of Congress in 1994," said Shuster, R-Pa. Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, voted for the package.

Projects funded in Franklin County include:

- $1.5 million for widening and reconstructing U.S. 30 between Walker Road and Fayetteville in Chambersburg and Guilford Township.

- $1.5 million for construction of a truck climbing lane on Pa. 16 from Rouzerville to Blue Ridge Summit in Washington Township.

- $525,000 for reconstructing the interchange at Exit 2 off Interstate 81 in Antrim Township.

- $150,000 for installing traffic signals at the intersections of U.S. 30 with Hade Road and Jack Road in St. Thomas.

- $1 million for intersection improvements along Pa. 16 at Antrim Church Road.

- $2 million to widen Montgomery Alley and improve pedestrian and parking facilities near Falling Spring in Chambersburg.

Projects funded in Fulton County include:

- $750,000 for improved access from U.S. 522 to the South Central Business Park in Ayr Township.

- $375,000 for reconstruction of curves on U.S. 30 and construction of an additional runaway truck ramp on Sideling Hill in Licking Creek Township.

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