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Author Topic: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA  (Read 18535 times)

Roadsguy

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Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« on: September 04, 2012, 08:08:40 AM »

I noticed that, on the stretch of I-81 northeast of Harrisburg from I-83 to I-78, the bridges carrying it are wide enough, and the overpasses long enough, to add a third lane up to 78. I noticed traffic was heavy on that stretch, so does anyone know if PennDOT has any plans? I haven't heard of any.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2012, 04:39:09 PM by Roadsguy »
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2012, 04:49:20 PM »

I noticed the same when I returned to my home in New York two years ago.

All of Interstate 81 from Lebanon, PA to at least Interstate 77 in southeastern Virginia needs to be widened to six lanes.  The cost would be staggering in the tens of billions!  A very heavily traveled Interstate with many, many trucks.
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Roadsguy

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2012, 09:08:59 AM »

I-81 doesn't go to Lebanon. :P

But I know what you mean: I-78, right?
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 10:05:43 PM »

I'd argue it should be widened from I-40 all the way to I-78, and then I-78 should be widened from I-81 to NJ. 
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jpi

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2012, 11:54:32 PM »

I do agree, I travel 81 from TN to PA about a dozen times a year (I get to do this next Thursday) and yes, this highway is getting choked at places. TN is not bad but from about Wytheville north it gets bad, they are building a couple climbing lanes in VA but ultimently it needs to be widend.
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Interstatefan78

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2012, 09:28:05 PM »

Just noticed that I-78 East and west in Pennsylvania from exit 60-75 or exit 53-1 is only 4 lanes wide in each direction and Penndot should make I-78 at least 6 lanes wide in each direction from exit 1-53 and from exit 60-75. Just like I-78 in New Jersey does have 6 lanes in each direction from the Delaware river bridge up to exit 48 in Springfield,NJ :D
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 03:01:27 AM »

Just noticed that I-78 East and west in Pennsylvania from exit 60-75 or exit 53-1 is only 4 lanes wide in each direction and Penndot should make I-78 at least 6 lanes wide in each direction from exit 1-53 and from exit 60-75. Just like I-78 in New Jersey does have 6 lanes in each direction from the Delaware river bridge up to exit 48 in Springfield,NJ :D
I-78 was originally built as US 22 from exit 8 to exit 51 in the late 1950's or early 1960's, so interstate criteria did not apply to this highway.  It probably started as an expressway with some at-grade intersections then was upgraded on the spot to be a freeway.  Making I-78 six lanes from I-81 to Allentown would require homes and businesses to be torn down because of their close proximity to the freeway (some no more than 20 feet from the edge of the shoulder). 

Some examples are the house with the ham radio antennas right next to WB I-78 around mm 12 (or 14), the businesses at exit 17, and the recently re-done area at Hamburg (exit 30).  Plus, as an aside, I would hate to see the RIRO at exit 15 go, only from an historical perspective.
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Roadsguy

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 08:38:00 AM »

Just noticed that I-78 East and west in Pennsylvania from exit 60-75 or exit 53-1 is only 4 lanes wide in each direction and Penndot should make I-78 at least 6 lanes wide in each direction from exit 1-53 and from exit 60-75. Just like I-78 in New Jersey does have 6 lanes in each direction from the Delaware river bridge up to exit 48 in Springfield,NJ :D
I-78 was originally built as US 22 from exit 8 to exit 51 in the late 1950's or early 1960's, so interstate criteria did not apply to this highway.  It probably started as an expressway with some at-grade intersections then was upgraded on the spot to be a freeway.  Making I-78 six lanes from I-81 to Allentown would require homes and businesses to be torn down because of their close proximity to the freeway (some no more than 20 feet from the edge of the shoulder). 

Some examples are the house with the ham radio antennas right next to WB I-78 around mm 12 (or 14), the businesses at exit 17, and the recently re-done area at Hamburg (exit 30).  Plus, as an aside, I would hate to see the RIRO at exit 15 go, only from an historical perspective.

And Roadside America.
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 06:42:08 PM »

Just noticed that I-78 East and west in Pennsylvania from exit 60-75 or exit 53-1 is only 4 lanes wide in each direction and Penndot should make I-78 at least 6 lanes wide in each direction from exit 1-53 and from exit 60-75. Just like I-78 in New Jersey does have 6 lanes in each direction from the Delaware river bridge up to exit 48 in Springfield,NJ :D
"in each direction" <-- I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.

Interstatefan78

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 08:26:00 PM »

Just noticed that I-78 East and west in Pennsylvania from exit 60-75 or exit 53-1 is only 4 lanes wide in each direction and Penndot should make I-78 at least 6 lanes wide in each direction from exit 1-53 and from exit 60-75. Just like I-78 in New Jersey does have 6 lanes in each direction from the Delaware river bridge up to exit 48 in Springfield,NJ :D
"in each direction" <-- I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.
What I meant in the post I made was the Eastbound and Westbound lanes of Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania this might help you clarify the phrase "in each direction." 
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Interstatefan78

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 08:30:36 PM »

Just noticed that I-78 East and west in Pennsylvania from exit 60-75 or exit 53-1 is only 4 lanes wide in each direction and Penndot should make I-78 at least 6 lanes wide in each direction from exit 1-53 and from exit 60-75. Just like I-78 in New Jersey does have 6 lanes in each direction from the Delaware river bridge up to exit 48 in Springfield,NJ :D
I-78 was originally built as US 22 from exit 8 to exit 51 in the late 1950's or early 1960's, so interstate criteria did not apply to this highway.  It probably started as an expressway with some at-grade intersections then was upgraded on the spot to be a freeway.  Making I-78 six lanes from I-81 to Allentown would require homes and businesses to be torn down because of their close proximity to the freeway (some no more than 20 feet from the edge of the shoulder). 

Some examples are the house with the ham radio antennas right next to WB I-78 around mm 12 (or 14), the businesses at exit 17, and the recently re-done area at Hamburg (exit 30).  Plus, as an aside, I would hate to see the RIRO at exit 15 go, only from an historical perspective.
Another problem of having I-78 being 6 lanes wide from exit 60 by Center Valley,PA up to Exit 75 in Williams Township,PA was the overpass and bridges can't handle 6 lanes wide and will require a rebuild of exit 71 the PA-33 interchange to support the 6 lanes of I-78 
And Roadside America.
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« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 10:10:40 PM by Steve »
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Roadsguy

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2012, 08:14:27 AM »

I didn't say that, you did! :P
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jpi

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2012, 10:53:40 PM »

The stretch of I-78 from exit 8 to around Foglesville was part of the 4-lane US 22 and I think dates back to the early 50's, possibly late 40's It was one of the first 4 lane highways built in PA outside the Turnpike. It used to be REALY rough until sometime after I moved to TN 9 years ago and some areas were rebuilt from the ground up and some were resurfaced.
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2012, 04:23:30 PM »

The stretch of I-78 from exit 8 to around Foglesville was part of the 4-lane US 22 and I think dates back to the early 50's, possibly late 40's It was one of the first 4 lane highways built in PA outside the Turnpike. It used to be REALY rough until sometime after I moved to TN 9 years ago and some areas were rebuilt from the ground up and some were resurfaced.
Is not the I-78 Freeway from Lenhartsville to Fogelsville not up to interstate standards?  Is not that the reason why the speed limit is STILL 55 mph from Hamburg to Allentown?  Yes, I know from PA 100 to the PA 309 split it is urban, but from PA 100 to PA 61 is not and does not have the 65 mph.
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2012, 06:56:00 PM »

The stretch of I-78 from exit 8 to around Foglesville was part of the 4-lane US 22 and I think dates back to the early 50's, possibly late 40's It was one of the first 4 lane highways built in PA outside the Turnpike. It used to be REALY rough until sometime after I moved to TN 9 years ago and some areas were rebuilt from the ground up and some were resurfaced.
Is not the I-78 Freeway from Lenhartsville to Fogelsville not up to interstate standards?  Is not that the reason why the speed limit is STILL 55 mph from Hamburg to Allentown?  Yes, I know from PA 100 to the PA 309 split it is urban, but from PA 100 to PA 61 is not and does not have the 65 mph.
The 65 mph zone used to end pretty quickly after the 22 merge. PennDOT is actively upgrading 78 for the rest of the merge, fixing shoulders, increasing median barrier height, and not quite sure what else, in order to continue raising the speed limit. Doesn't affect the travel speed one whit.

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2012, 12:46:49 AM »

The reason it's still 55 between Hamburg and Fogelsville is because of the narrow footprint the road is on through the hilly area there.  Trees are rather close to the road in some areas and it's rather curvy in some spots (from exit 35 to 40).  For it to go to 65 mph, tree clearing and expanded shoulder work needs to be done.

You should have seen the area around Hamburg before it was re-done.  Narrow and tight ramps around exit 30 and it felt like you were squeezing between houses just to get through there.  What is there now is a 150% improvement.  However, 55 mph is the proper speed for that section the way it is currently.
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Roadsguy

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2012, 11:49:23 AM »

I just wish they'd replace the bridge over the Surekill Schuylkill River already and make give it an auxiliary lane for each direction. :bigass:
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Interstatefan78

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2012, 04:35:06 PM »

The stretch of I-78 from exit 8 to around Foglesville was part of the 4-lane US 22 and I think dates back to the early 50's, possibly late 40's It was one of the first 4 lane highways built in PA outside the Turnpike. It used to be REALY rough until sometime after I moved to TN 9 years ago and some areas were rebuilt from the ground up and some were resurfaced.
Is not the I-78 Freeway from Lenhartsville to Fogelsville not up to interstate standards?  Is not that the reason why the speed limit is STILL 55 mph from Hamburg to Allentown?  Yes, I know from PA 100 to the PA 309 split it is urban, but from PA 100 to PA 61 is not and does not have the 65 mph.
The 65 mph zone used to end pretty quickly after the 22 merge. PennDOT is actively upgrading 78 for the rest of the merge, fixing shoulders, increasing median barrier height, and not quite sure what else, in order to continue raising the speed limit. Doesn't affect the travel speed one whit.
Another thing that Penndot would do if they were to rebuild this section was to use Clearview font signs in place of the Gothic font signs from exit 51-29 if it was rebuilt and  I-78 has Clearview font signs from exit 75-67 and this was done from November 2011 to June 2012.
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2012, 05:01:22 PM »

I just wish they'd replace the bridge over the Surekill Schuylkill River already and make give it an auxiliary lane for each direction. :bigass:

The Surekill Expressway was named after the Surekill River.

In other parts of the state, there is a Surekill County and several Surekill Townships.
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2012, 09:19:07 PM »

However, 55 mph is the proper speed for that section the way it is currently.



I've driven that section, and there is no reason that it cannot be safely negotiated at 65 mph, which is the speed at which I drive it when I'm on it.
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2012, 10:54:51 AM »

However, 55 mph is the proper speed for that section the way it is currently.
I've driven that section, and there is no reason that it cannot be safely negotiated at 65 mph, which is the speed at which I drive it when I'm on it.
I have to agree with hb here.  I've driven this section many times in both directions and I don't feel that 65-70 feels unsafe through there.  Traffic tends to flow at that speed too, so if the majority is traveling at that speed, it can't be all that unsafe.

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2012, 05:29:08 PM »

I did base my opinion on when I drove my box truck through that area, sometimes with 10,000 pounds on it.  I usually went about 55-60 mph through there and cars did pass me.  If I was in a car, I would probably go 65 also--hopefully not getting stopped for speeding.
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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2012, 03:52:18 PM »

I did base my opinion on when I drove my box truck through that area, sometimes with 10,000 pounds on it.  I usually went about 55-60 mph through there and cars did pass me.  If I was in a car, I would probably go 65 also--hopefully not getting stopped for speeding.
I wouldn't worry about PA troopers on I-78.  I've only ever seen them near it's terminus at I-81 and near the NJ border.  Both instances were only once each, and I've driven both directions end-to-end at least 50 times.  Also both areas are 65 mph zones.  Cops have no where to sit in the 55 zones.

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2012, 11:22:42 PM »

I did base my opinion on when I drove my box truck through that area, sometimes with 10,000 pounds on it.  I usually went about 55-60 mph through there and cars did pass me.  If I was in a car, I would probably go 65 also--hopefully not getting stopped for speeding.
I wouldn't worry about PA troopers on I-78.  I've only ever seen them near it's terminus at I-81 and near the NJ border.  Both instances were only once each, and I've driven both directions end-to-end at least 50 times.  Also both areas are 65 mph zones.  Cops have no where to sit in the 55 zones.
The following region will let you get away with (at least) 74 in a 55, based on numerous experiences: Start with the greater DC area. Encompass Baltimore, then spread up along the I-81 and I-95 corridors, swallowing everything in your path. Once you hit the Delaware Memorial Bridge on I-95, just use the coastline (starting with the southern outline of NJ). On the west, your line should go from Binghamton to Albany, across the top of Massachusetts, and ending up around the Portland area.

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Re: Widening I-81 from I-83 to I-78 in PA
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2012, 10:04:05 PM »

You know the section from Fogelsville to Hamburg should be redone.  It should be done like I-4 was done in Lakeland, FL.  New carrigeways were built for I-4 on both sides of the freeway and the old freeway was made a wider median for the new roadways.  I think, if I-78 was to be widened to six lanes here, it would pay to have it done this way.  Now I do not know how much blasting of rock would need to be as I am not too familiar with the topiary of the land here, as in Florida there is no bedrock and laying a bed down for freeway grading is simple.  Anyway, in a world where money was no object, then I would say build a new I-78 on both sides of the existing freeway and give I-78 the interstate type of median it deserves and make it more standard for higher speeds with new lanes and less curves.

West of Hamburg, what FDOT for I-275 in Tampa would work here.  That is the completely relocated the NB Lanes to the side of the former ones and left alone the SB Lanes.  I am not sure if a newer wider median has been placed in the old NB Lanes from US 92 (Dale Mabry) to Downtown Tampa or what they did, but just build a new WB I-78 from Exit 29 to Exit 8 and leave the EB as is.  Then the old WB lanes would become median and the former center shoulder would make a third eastbound lane.

I-81, of course, would need widening from I-78 to I-83 as you can't have I-78s three lanes narrow to two at another busy corridor joining in to add more traffic.

That should be the plan if something could be done.
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