Harrisburg @ AARoads


Harrisburg Metropolitan Map - AARoads

The capital city of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg is traversed by a trio of two-digit Interstates with a third on the outskirts. The city itself is typical of small to medium sized Northeastern cities, with an industrial row-home type feel to its layout. The waterfront of the Susquehanna River (one of the longest unnavigable rivers that exist) offers the city an asset in which other northeastern cities dream about. The city is taking advantage of this by building a recreation area and riverwalk along the banks adjacent to downtown, improving the overall city image. Improvements to the overall highway network including the rebuilding of ramps to Interstate 83 from downtown, the completion of Pennsylvania 581, and the Dauphin Bypass project. These projects along with urban renewal have brightened the prospects for the city.

Interstates

Interstate 76 passes through the metropolitan area to the south. Four interchanges serve the Harrisburg/Camp Hill vicinity: U.S. 11 (Interstate 81) for Carlisle, U.S. 15 for Gettysburg/Camp Hill, Interstate 83 for Harrisburg West, Interstate 283 for Harrisburg East. The interchanges for Carlisle and Harrisburg East are not direct connections to Interstates 81 and 83. The turnpike retains its four-lane narrow identity throughout the Harrisburg area.

A six-lane freeway between Pennsylvania 581 and Interstate 83, Interstate 81 is has just undergone a resurfacing project. Highlights along Interstate 81 include a magnificent stack interchange at the U.S. 22/322 freeway, and two three-level triangular stack interchanges at Pennsylvania 581 and Interstate 83. Also worth mentioning is the George Wade Bridge over the Susquehanna River which offers six lanes a scenic view of the mountains and river. Interstate 81 does not have a direct access interchange with the Pennsylvania Turnpike, as traffic is routed along U.S. 11. The Interstate is a heavy trucking corridor in the northeast.

Main Interstate serving the city of Harrisburg. The freeway has undergone some widening in recent years, with new asphalt being overlaid on the road surface. The freeway carries four overall lanes of travel between Interstate 76/Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate 81. A six-lane segment exists from the merge with Pennsylvania 581 eastbound from Exit 41A to Exit 44B (19th Street). Local traffic reports refer to the Exit 44B reduction as the "19th Street Bottleneck."1

The interchange with U.S. 322/Interstate 283 is a three-level stack interchange. The interchange with Interstate 81 is also a three-level stack. Ramps from Front Street and downtown Harrisburg have been rebuilt and improved with the northern terminus also under reconstruction.
The future of Interstate 83 is uncertain, as the short two-digit Interstate may expand northwards along the Dauphin Bypass. However, speculation that the Interstate could reach the Williamsport vicinity should be negated as plans for a full freeway along U.S. 11/15 between Duncannon and Milton are not in the cards.

A short connector between Interstate 83/U.S. 322 and Interstate 76/Pennsylvania Turnpike/Pennsylvania 283. The short Interstate route also serves Harrisburg International Airport bound traffic, as it is located just to the east of the southern terminus of Pennsylvania 283. Original exit numbers were signed from north to south, but with the implementation mile-based exit numbers, the standard south to north convention now exists along the route. The northern terminus is located at a three level stack interchange.

Interstate 76 | Interstate 81 | Interstate 83 | Interstate 283

Other Freeways

Important freeway linking the Harrisburg and Lancaster metro areas. Pennsylvania 283 traverses rolling hills and a hodgepodge of small town and suburban subdivision on the 29 mile trek. The speed limit in rural areas is 65 MPH, with four lanes carrying the overall load between the two cities. The easternmost portion of the freeway has been reconstructed/widened to six lanes with full shoulders. Sound walls were also installed. The interchange with U.S. 30, the eastern terminus, was expanded to allow for access to west U.S. 30 and from east U.S. 30. The designation of Pennsylvania 283 was never signed, and not planned to be signed as, Interstate 283.

Pennsylvania @ AARoads - Pennsylvania 283

Formally known as the Harrisburg Expressway, Pennsylvania 581 links the Camp Hill area west Harrisburg of city to Interstate 81. Why isn't this road called Interstate 581? That notion has been mentioned before (including an ADC Map that erroneously showed an Interstate 581 instead of Pennsylvania 581 on a 1990s-era map of Pennsylvania) and been debated on the Usenet forum misc.transport.road. However, there have been no plans by the state of Pennsylvania nor PennDOT to upgrade this designation. The freeway is one of the few state route freeways in the Keystone State to carry exit numbers.
The freeway existed in two sections, with the original Harrisburg Expressway between Interstate 83 and U.S. 11/Carlisle Pike and tri-level stack interchange at Interstate 81 coming into existence by the early 1980s. The missing link between the ghost interchange and Harrisburg Expressway was completed by 1995. With that completion, the earlier portion of highway from U.S. 11 eastward was reconstructed and modernized with sound barriers and fully reflectorized signage installed. The highway has a capacity of four lanes overall with a third lane in the eastbound direction between Exit 2 (Creekview Road) to Exit 3 (Carlisle Pike).1

Pennsylvania @ AARoads - Pennsylvania 581

Capital Beltway

Harrisburg designated the "Capital Beltway" soon after the completion of the Pennsylvania 581 freeway linking Interstate 81 and U.S. 11. The routing encircles the city and follows Interstates 81, 83, and Pennsylvania 581. The designation was implemented to improve travel in and around the metropolitan area.

Capital Beltway trailblazer located on Interstate 83 northbound near the U.S. 22 exit. Photo taken 07/01/00.

Chris Blaney posted on misc.transport.road that the Beltway may soon get an Interstate designation. With the potential extension of Interstate 83 northward along he new Dauphin Bypass (U.S. 22/322 freeway north of the city), the appeal to having a three-digit bypass Interstate for through travel increases. Currently trailblazers for the designation are located along the included routes auxiliary to the route reassurance shields themselves.

U.S. Highways

Parallels Interstate 81 in most of the Commonwealth. It also serves to link traffic between Interstate 81 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The highway shares a short duplex with the Harrisburg Expressway (Pennsylvania 581), then a long duplex with U.S. 15 along the west bank of the Susquehanna River. The two part ways at Sudbury well north of the metro area.

Divided highway linking Harrisburg with Gettysburg and the National Battlefield located in Adams County to the south. U.S. 15 varies between limited access and controlled access standards from the Maryland state line northward to the junction with the Harrisburg Expressway (Pennsylvania 581). U.S. 15 and 11 leave Pennsylvania 581 and share pavement northward through Sudbury. The routing along the west bank of the Susquehanna River from U.S. 22/322 northward has been reconstructed and widened in recent years. Originally the lane configuration was one in each direction with a center turn lane. A short freeway segment exists bypassing Selins Grove. This expressway is slated for a northward extension within the next 10 years.

U.S. 22 is the only U.S. Highway to still be aligned within the city limits of Harrisburg. The rest of the U.S. 22 family has been altered in some way. U.S. 322 has been completely siphoned onto to Interstates 81 and 83 and U.S. 422 was truncated to Hershey. In the late 1970s, the new alignment for U.S. 22 and subsequently U.S. 322 opened up from Harrisburg northward along the Susquehanna River. This freeway is six lanes from the southern ending northward through Interstate 81. The expressway reduces to four lanes as it exits the metro area. Starting in the late 1990s, this freeway, dubbed the Dauphin Bypass, has been extended northward to the junction with U.S. 11/15. Look for this project to wrap up with the completion a seamless freeway between Harrisburg and Lewistown to the northwest.

U.S. 111 originally linked the cities of Harrisburg, York, and Baltimore, Maryland. For the most part, Interstate 83 overtook the routing to the south. At Camp Hill, U.S. 111 crossed the Susquehanna into Harrisburg and proceed northward along the east bank of the Susquehanna River. The highway continued northward to Halifax, Milton, and Williamsport. The reasoning for the current southern terminus of U.S. 209 is found within the historic routing of U.S. 111.

Before the arrival of Pennsylvania 283, Pennsylvania 230 was known as U.S. 230. The U.S. route began in the city of Harrisburg at a junction with U.S. 22 (when U.S. 22 was routed along Front Street). and proceeded along McCay and Cameron Streets southward to an exit of the city. The route proceeded southeastward to its parent U.S. 30 in the city of Lancaster. When sections of Pennsylvania 283 first opened, U.S. 230 was downgraded to Pennsylvania 230. This coincided with the AASHTO policy of an elimination of intrastate U.S. Highways.

Pennsylvania @ AARoads - Pennsylvania 230

"U.S. 322 bums rides off of other routes throughout Harrisburg metro." The U.S. route multiplexes with U.S. 22 from Lewistown far to the northwest to Interstate 81 in north Harrisburg. The highway then follows Interstate 81 to Interstate 83, where it turns southward. At the Interstate 283 junction, U.S. 322 finally sees pavement of its own, as it turns to the east. The highway is divided with a bypass around Hummellstown as it exits Harrisburg metro. Original routings for U.S. 322 duplexed it with U.S. 22 along Front and 2nd Streets along the Susquehanna waterfront, and along Paxton Street to the east (duplexed with U.S. 422 at one time on this stretch as well).

Pennsylvania @ AARoads - U.S. Highway 322

U.S. 422 is divided into two segments overall, with the eastern one located in the Harrisburg metro area. The current terminus is located at U.S. 322/Pennsylvania 39 along the Hummelstown Bypass. U.S. 422 links the area with the Hershey Amusement park facilities and the city of Reading far to the east. Originally U.S. 422 shared a duplex with U.S. 322 westward of the current terminus into downtown Harrisburg. The co-signage allowed for route continuity between U.S. 22 and its stems. The truncation of U.S. 422 came in the early 1960s.

Pennsylvania @ AARoads - U.S. Highway 422

Sources:

  1. Pai, Dave. "Harrisburg Focus Page," email: October 28, 2004.

Page Updated July 31, 2005.

© AARoads