Traveling nearly 68 miles through the Garden State, Interstate 78 joins North Jersey with Manhattan via the Holland Tunnel and the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania at Phillipsburg. The freeway replaced U.S. 22 as the main route from Newark west to Pennsylvania.
The Holland Tunnel, the Hudson River crossing of I-78 between Jersey City and Manhattan, was completed in 1927. The tolled crossing was initially linked with Newark by the Pulaski Skyway in 1932. Congestion along the route led to the New Jersey Turnpike Extension, an 8.2-mile ling spur from the Turnpike mainline to Jersey City. Construction commenced in 1954 on the route, which includes a high steel arch bridge over Newark Bay. The Extension opened east to Bayonne in April 1956 and was completed in September 1956.1 The toll road ends just shy of the Holland Tunnel toll plazas, requiring I-78 motorists to traverse three blocks at-grade.
Established as Interstate 78 in 1958. Much of I-78 through North Jersey was constructed during the 1960s and 1970s. Delays through the Watchung Reservation in Union County however lengthened when 1970 Federal legislation required more environmental studies for new Interstate construction. This pushed the completion date for the 3.5-mile section of I-78 back to August 1986.2
This left just the portion at the Pennsylvania state line to complete. Originally I-78 took the Lehigh Valley Freeway, the pre-Interstate era freeway of U.S. 22 through Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, Pennsylvania. Plans for I-78 first took the freeway through Downtown Phillipsburg, tying into the U.S. 22 route. The routing changed in 1969 when both New Jersey and Pennsylvania officials agreed on a new alignment to the south of Allentown and Bethlehem, including a new toll bridge across the Delaware River. Work broke ground on this portion in 1984 and was completed in November 1989.2
Interstate 78 New Jersey Guides
- East - Phillipsburg to Newark
- East - Newark to Jersey City
- East - Holland Tunnel
- West - Jersey City to Newark
- New Jersey Turnpike-Newark Bay Extension (I-78), NYCRoads.com.
- Interstate 78 (New Jersey), NYCRoads.com.
Page Updated 05-07-2014.