Interstate 76

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Interstate 76 joins Pittsburgh, Harrisburg and Philadelphia as part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike mainline. The turnpike extends east along Interstate 276 from Valley Forge across the northern Philadelphia suburbs while I-76 turns southeast along the Schuylkill Expressway toward the city center. I-76 spans the Delaware River into South Jersey across the tolled Walt Whitman Bridge.

Interstate 76 Pennsylvania Guides

Historically Interstate 76 extended west from Monroeville along U.S. 22, U.S. 30 and Penn-Lincoln Parkway to what was I-79 in Downtown Pittsburgh. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved a renumbering plan to improve route continuity for the Pittsburgh Interstate System on June 15, 1970. The American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) concurred with this on June 30, 1970. The outlined changes renumbered I-79 along Penn-Lincoln Parkway West as an extension of I-76 and switched the designations so that I-79 bypassed Pittsburgh to the west and I-279 followed Parkway North to the Fort Duquesne Bridge. I-479 along Crosstown Boulevard was also renumbered as I-876 so as to correspond to the lowest base route I-76.

However the Pittsburgh Interstate System would change the following year as the state of Ohio cosponsored an application to AASHO with Pennsylvania for the replacement of Interstate 80S with a western extension of I-76. Motorists routinely were having difficulty differentiating between Interstate route markers at the junction of I-80 and I-80S west of Youngstown. Replacing I-80S with I-76 along the Ohio Turnpike southeast addressed this issue.

Corresponding action by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) relocated I-76 from Penn-Lincoln Parkway across Pittsburgh onto the remainder of the Pennsylvania Turnpike northwest from Monroeville. Interstate 376 was established west from the PA Turnpike to the Fort Pitt Bridge at Downtown Pittsburgh. Penn-Lincoln Parkway West was renumbered as a southern extension of Interstate 279, completing the loop west from the Steel City. I-876 was also renumbered to I-579. All numbering changes were approved by AASHO on December 4, 1971.

A similar change took place in Philadelphia, where I-76 and I-676 switched places to improve the through route. I-676 at the time was completed and renumbering it as I-76 also removed it from the main Philadelphia central business district. Additionally having the entire length of the Schuylkill Expressway with a single designation was highly desired by PennDOT. AASHO approved the switch on June 20, 1972.

Interstate 76 scenes
2 photos
2 photos
Interstate 76 at the former Morgantown Interchange with Pennsylvania Route 10. The adjacent trumpet interchange directly linking the PA Turnpike with I-176 (Morgantown Connector) north opened to traffic on September 27, 1996. 08/01/04
Looking west at the PA Turnpike from Route 10 at Morgantown. The I-176 spur south to PA 10/23 spans the toll road nearby. 08/01/04
2 photos
2 photos
Vintage shield assembly for the entrance ramp connecting Mall Boulevard north with I-76 west to the Valley Forge Interchange (Exit 326) along the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276). 12/19/17
Original button copy sign for I-76 posted at the Gulph Road eastbound on-ramp to the freeway west at King of Prussia. Interstate 76 converges with the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276) west nearby. December 1999
An array of pre-Interstate overheads remained in use at the exchange joining Passyunk Avenue with the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia. These were replaced by October 13, 2001. 07/05/00
Passyunk Avenue west at I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway). Originally the Schuylkill Expressway was designated as a north-south route. When it was connected to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and numbered as I-76, it was redesigned east-west.1 07/05/00
Vintage overhead for the Schuylkill Expressway north (I-76 west) along Oregon Avenue. 07/05/00
4 photos
4 photos
4 photos
4 photos
Columbus Boulevard passes below the Walt Whitman Bridge, a suspension span carrying I-76 east across the Delaware River from South Philadelphia to South Jersey. 08/04/04

Sources:
  1. Pundt, Len. Email to AARoads. December 11, 2000.


Photo Credits:

December 1999, 07/05/00, 08/01/04, 08/04/04, 12/19/17 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 70
Interstate 79
Interstate 81
Interstate 83
Interstate 95
Interstate 176
Interstate 276 / Pennsylvania Turnpike
Interstate 376
Interstate 476
U.S. 1

Page Updated 02-02-2021.

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