Interstate 279


Interstate 279 North
Eastbound U.S. 22-30 (Penn-Lincoln Parkway West) approaches the southern terminus of Interstate 279 and the ramp to Southbound Interstate 79. Northbound Interstate 279 begins just ahead of this point. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Interstate 279 north begins here, at the interchange with Interstate 79 southwest of downtown Pittsburgh. The two U.S. highways -- U.S. 22 and U.S. 30 -- remain signed on reassurance shields along this route, but they are not generally listed on the overhead signs along with Interstate 279. Photo taken 10/30/04.
View of the Interstate 79/279 interchange as seen from eastbound U.S. 22-30. This marks the southern terminus of Interstate 279. Interstate 279 is mostly heading east from this interchange, even though it is signed as north. It doesn't really turn north until entering downtown. Photo taken 10/01.
This is the first reassurance shield for Interstate 279 and U.S. 22-30, found in the middle of the Interstate 79 interchange. Photo taken 10/30/04.
The first two exits along northbound Interstate 279 are Exit 1, Bus Access and Exit 2, Pennsylvania 50. Pennsylvania 50 is an east-west route that begins at the West Virginia State Line near Independence. It briefly parallels Interstate 79 as it enters the Pennsylvania metropolitan area, then intersects with Interstate 279 here. Pennsylvania 50 ends just north of this interchange at its junction with Pennsylvania 60. Photo taken 10/30/04.
This pull through sign identifies several destinations on the "north shore" of the Ohio and Allegheny Rivers. The two outdoor sports venues -- Heinz Field (for the National Football League's Pittsburgh Steelers and Big East college football's University of Pittsburgh Panthers) and PNC Park (Major League Baseball's Pittsburgh Pirates) -- are located on the North Shore. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Northbound Interstate 279 reaches the offramp for buses in Carnegie. Interstate 279 remains in Carnegie between Interstate 79 and the Chartiers Creek Bridge near the Pennsylvania 50 interchange (Exit 2). From there, Interstate 279 turns northeast into Green Tree (between Exit 2 and Exit 4A, then enters the city of Pittsburgh midway between Exit 4A (Pennsylvania 121) and Exit 4B (Parkway Center Drive, southbound access only). Photo taken 10/30/04.
Another reassurance shield is posted on the bridge that carries northbound Interstate 279 over railroad tracks, Arch Street, and Chartiers Creek Bridge. The viaduct continues to the next rise, visible in the distance. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Interstate 279 is narrow as it crosses Chartiers Creek and prepares to meet Pennsylvania 50. To the north, Pennsylvania 50 travels along Noblestown Road, acting as the city limits between Green Tree and Pittsburgh. To the south, Pennsylvania 50 passes through downtown Carnegie via Main Street and then extends south via Washington Avenue. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Northbound Interstate 279 reaches the offramp for Pennsylvania 50 westbound (southbound) at Exit 2. There is no direct access to eastbound (northbound) Pennsylvania 50 at this trumpet interchange. The offramp merges directly onto Lydia Street, which connects with Pennsylvania 50 at the Washington Avenue. Photo taken 10/30/04.
The next exit along northbound Interstate 279 is Exit 4A, Pennsylvania 121 north to Pennsylvania 50 and Crafton via Poplar Street. In addition, Exit 4A also serves Pennsylvania 121 south to Green Tree and Mt. Lebanon via Greentree Road. Through this area, Pennsylvania 121 also follows the Blue Belt of the Pittsburgh signed belt system. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Another set of reassurance shields are placed after the onramp from the Pennsylvania 50 and downtown Carnegie interchange. The Norfolk and Western Railway bridge comes into view. Photo taken 10/30/04.
The Norfolk and Western Railway Bridge is located immediately after the Pennsylvania 50 interchange and prior to the Pennsylvania 121 interchange. While the railway crosses the freeway here, the freeway actually turns from a southeast to a northeast trajectory. As a result, the freeway and railroad parallel each other through Green Tree. Photo taken 10/30/04.
This sign advises motorists on the appropriate exits to use for the sports arenas on the North Shore of Pittsburgh. This sign more or less marks where Interstate 279 enters the Borough of Green Tree. Settled in 1793, the area had many of its roads paved in 1939, and Interstate 279 (Penn-Lincoln Parkway West) was constructed through the community in 1952. The borough was incorporated in 1885 and established as a home rule community in 1975. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Interstate 279 briefly gains a third lane, which acts as an exit only lane onto Pennsylvania 121 north to Crafton and south to Green Tree and Mt. Lebanon. Pennsylvania 121 is a relatively short state route, connecting with Pennsylvania 50 to the north and U.S. 19 to the south. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Northbound Interstate 279 reaches Exit 4A, Pennsylvania 121, Greentree Road. Photo taken 10/30/04.
To access northbound Pennsylvania 121 and the Inner Blue Belt, make a left on Greentree Road, then turn left immediately on Masfield Avenue and right on Poplar Street. Make a right to follow Pennsylvania 121/Outer Blue Belt/Greentree Road southbound. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Northbound Interstate 279 tunnel restrictions sign south of Exit 5B, Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51. Exits 5A-B are the last exits before the tunnel, so all prohibited vehicles must exit and use the West End Bridge to enter Pittsburgh. Photo taken 10/30/04.
This sign advises that traffic for southbound U.S. 19 should use Exit 5C, Banksville Road. Photo taken 10/30/04.
The next exit along northbound Interstate 279 and eastbound U.S. 22-30 is Exit 5B, Junction Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51, one mile. Truck U.S. 19 silently joins U.S. 22-30 onto Interstate 279 northbound, and it stays with the freeway until Exit 10, McKnight Road. Due to a sign bridge relocation, the older sign was relocated a bit further north from its original location. First photo taken 10/30/04; second photo taken 10/14/01.
The next two exits along northbound Interstate 279 are Exit 5B, Junction Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51 and Exit 5C, Banksville Road (To U.S. 19 south); after these exits, Interstate 279 passes through the Fort Pitt Tunnel and over the Monongahela River. Upon crossing the Fort Pitt Bridge over that river, the exits come fast and furious. This sign is designed to advise of those exits that travel into downtown Pittsburgh, including Liberty Avenue, Fort Duquesne Boulevard, and North Shore. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Prior to the installation of the "next exit" sign shown in the previous photobox or the tunnel warning overhead sign in the next photobox, this older photo shows the prior configuration along northbound Interstate 279, as it approaches Exit 5B, Junction Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51. These signs have been replaced: they are old, non-reflective, button copy signs with replacement exit numbers, and the entire sign bridge was replaced with the tunnel hazard sign (see next photobox). Photo taken 05/01/02.
Prior to the installation of the "next exit" sign shown in the previous photobox or the tunnel warning overhead sign in the next photobox, this older photo shows the prior configuration along northbound Interstate 279, as it approaches Exit 5B, Junction Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51. These signs have been replaced: they are old, non-reflective, button copy signs with replacement exit numbers, and the entire sign bridge was replaced with the tunnel hazard sign (see next photobox). Photo taken 05/01/02.
Two new right lanes join northbound Interstate 279 as traffic from Parkway Center Drive (Exit 4B) join the flow. These two lanes in turn become exit only for Exit 5B, Junction Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51 (Saw Mill Run Boulevard) south and Exit 5C, U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51 (Saw Mill Run Boulevard) north to West End and the West End Bridge over the Ohio River. There is no direct access to Exit 5A, U.S. 19 (Banksville Road) south; use Exit 5C to make that connection. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Northbound Interstate 279 and eastbound U.S. 22-30 reaches Exit 5B, Junction Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51 southbound. The advance signage for Interstate 376 (Exit 6A) here is warranted, because drivers need to be in the correct lanes upon exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnel to ensure they end up on the right road upon entering downtown Pittsburgh. All through traffic on northbound Interstate 279 should stay in the left lane for the next three miles. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Immediately after the offramp to Exit 5B, northbound Interstate 279 next approaches the offramp for Exit 5C, Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51, next right. The West End Bridge is accessible from this exit. The Fort Pitt Tunnel under Mount Washington is visible beyond the overpass. Photo taken 10/30/04.
A tunnel lane metering light is mounted in front of the signage for the ramp from northbound Interstate 279 (and eastbound U.S. 22-30) to Exit 5C, Junction Truck U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 51. Pennsylvania 51 is a major route that travels south from here to Jefferson Hills, where it meets Toll Pennsylvania 43 (Mon-Fayette Expressway), then continues south toward Uniontown. Photo taken 5/01/02.
Interstate 279 immediately prepares to enter the Fort Pitt Tunnel, which burrows under Mount Washington before emerging at the base of the Fort Pitt Bridge over the Monongahela River. This tunnel is in the process of being reconstructed, along with portions of Interstate 279, between 2002 and 2012. Tunnel closures may occur during this time period due to the upgrade efforts. There are fewer highways with more surprises than Interstate 279 northbound between Pennsylvania 51 and Interstate 579. Motorists have to pay attention to the signs and not enjoy the sights, because of the manner in which exits unfold very rapidly upon exiting the tunnel. So enjoy the peace of the tunnel, because three exit-only lanes appear on the Fort Pitt Bridge with only one through lane for northbound Interstate 279, and motorists must merge left to remain on northbound Interstate 279. Photo taken 10/30/04.
The Fort Pitt Tunnel consists of two bores, one for northbound traffic and the other southbound traffic. A total of 3,614 feet long, the tunnel was opened in September 1960 as part of the Interstate 70 (later Interstate 79 and finally Interstate 279) corridor. Prior to the opening of the Fort Pitt Tunnel and during the tunnel closures due to reconstruction, U.S. 19 and the West End Bridge acts as an alternate route. Even though the tunnel is well lit, passing is prohibited within the tunnel. Photos taken 10/30/04.
The tunnel exits from Mount Washington and enters the Fort Pitt Bridge, a golden yellow arch high above the Monongahela River and Pennsylvania 837 (Carson Street) on the south shore. Though only a little more than a half mile long, the Fort Pitt Tunnel often surprises motorists when they see for the first time just how close they are to the City of Pittsburgh. Founded in 1758, Pittsburgh is well known for its history as a steel town, with memories of steel mills, foundries, and factories that used to line the three rivers (Ohio, Allegheny, and Monongahela). Visitors are often surprised to learn that the city is also the beneficiary of four large, regional parks (Frick, Schenley, Highland and Riverview) and that a great deal of community altruism resulted in a continuous support for the arts and culture of the city. Home to 334,563 people in 2000, Pittsburgh lost 9.5% of its population since 1990 (369,879). Photo taken 10/30/04.
The skyline of downtown Pittsburgh comes into view as northbound Interstate 279 and eastbound U.S. 22-30 cross the Monongahela River. Two new lanes enter the freeway from the left, as they come in from Pennsylvania 837/West Carson Street on the south shore. Since southbound Interstate 279 rides on the lower deck of the double deck Fort Pitt Bridge, it is not visible. Photo taken 10/30/04.
This the first view of downtown Pittsburgh, which is locally known as the Golden Triangle. Pittsburgh has one of the most scenic downtowns in America, with a skyline, rivers, and mountains. The skyline is nestled in this valley, formed by the confluence of the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny Rivers. The exits are fast and furious here. Traffic is merging throughout this area, because the northbound tunnel lanes default onto Interstate 376 exit only lanes. Northbound Interstate 279 must merge over two lanes to continue on that route. The two left lanes are new lanes from onramps from Pennsylvania 837 on the south shore of the Monongahela River. Stay in the far left lane to stay on Interstate 279 northbound! Stay in the far right lane for Interstate 376, U.S. 22, and U.S. 30 (Exit 6A). The other two exits (Exits 6B and 6C) will use the middle two lanes, and they lead directly into downtown Pittsburgh: the second lane from the left leads to Fort Duquesne Boulevard and the Civic Center, and the third lane from the right leads to the Boulevard of the Allies and Liberty Avenue. Photo taken 10/30/04.
The lane configuration on the top deck of the bridge is as follows: left lane #1: northbound Interstate 279 and Truck U.S. 19; lane #2: Exit 6C, Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Convention Center, and Strip District; lane #3: Exit 6B, Boulevard of the Allies, Liberty Avenue, and Mellon Arena; and lane #4: Exit 6A, Interstate 376 and U.S. 22-30 east, Penn-Lincoln Parkway East to Monroeville and Interstate 76, the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Photo taken 10/30/04.
Northbound Interstate 279 and Truck U.S. 19 (Penn-Lincoln Parkway North) split from eastbound Interstate 376 and U.S. 22-30 (Penn-Lincoln Parkway East) at this ramp. The next two exits are Exit 6B, Boulevard of the Allies, Liberty Avenue, and Mellon Arena and Exit 6C, Fort Duquesne Boulevard, Convention Center, and Strip District. Photos taken 10/30/04 and 11/2/04.
After Exits 6B and 6C, Interstate 279 and Truck U.S. 19 leave the Golden Triangle of downtown Pittsburgh and crosses the Allegheny River via the Fort Duquesne Bridge. The next interchange complex is for Exits 7A-B, U.S. 19 and Pennsylvania 65. These two routes take the left side of the bridge, while through traffic for Interstate 279 used the right side of the bridge, which is the opposite from the Fort Pitt Bridge. Again, this is another marvelous bridge, with two decks. Southbound again takes the lower deck. Photo taken 10/14/01.
Interstate 279 South
Interstate 279 begins its southbound journey after splitting from Interstate 79 in Franklin Park, which is northwest of downtown Pittsburgh. The first exit along southbound is Exit 15, Camp Horne Road. Following that, southbound Interstate 279 next approaches Exit 14, Bellevue (Highland Avenue), one mile. Photo taken 5/03/02.
Following the Bellevue interchange, the next exit along southbound Interstate 279 (Parkway North) is Exit 12, U.S. 19 (Perrysville Avenue). Photo taken 10/01.
The next exit along southbound Interstate 279 is Exit 10, Venture Street. Photo taken 5/02.
As a result of construction, many of the signs profiled in October 2001 have changed on the southbound approach to Interstate 579. These pictures show how the signs were modified to reflect road closures and detours. The construction sign is merely a large tarp that has been placed over the normal sign. Photos taken 5/01/02.
Southbound Interstate 279 and Truck U.S. 19 approaches the interchange with Pennsylvania 28 northeast to Etna and Interstate 579 south to the Liberty Bridge and Liberty Tunnel. Pennsylvania 28 is an expressway that is planned for ultimate conversion to a freeway. It follows the north bank of the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh to Kittanning. Photo taken 10/14/01.
Southbound Interstate 279 reaches the offramp for Exit 8B, East Street to northbound Pennsylvania 28. The next exit is Interstate 579 south. Photo taken 10/14/01.
Use the two left lanes to continue south along southbound Interstate 279; use the two right lanes to take Interstate 579 south into downtown Pittsburgh toward the Liberty Bridge. Photo taken 05/01/02.
Southbound Interstate 279 approaching Interstate 579, Exit 8A. Note the reversible lane in the center median for commuters. It flows southbound in the morning and northbound in the evening. This marks the northern terminus of Interstate 579. Photo taken 05/01/02.
The next two exits along southbound Interstate 279 are Exit 7A, To Pennsylvania 65 and Exit 7B, North Shore. Photo taken 10/14/01.
Southbound Interstate 279 next approaches Exit 7A, North Shore. Use this exit for access to the stadiums (Heinz Field and PNC Park). Photo taken 10/14/01.
Southbound Interstate 279 at Junction Eastbound Interstate 376. Although this looks like a direct connection between two Interstates, one must pass by cross-traffic related to Stanwix Street and Smithfield Street before merging onto Interstate 376. At least there are fewer exits for southbound traffic at this point (as compared to northbound). Photo taken 10/14/01.
Now on the Fort Pitt Bridge, southbound Interstate 279 follows the lower deck of the bridge. The two left lanes continue south on Interstate 279 and west on U.S. 22-30. The two right lanes exit onto Pennsylvania 837, West Carson Street to Pennsylvania 51 and the West End Bridge. Use Pennsylvania 837 to access southbound Truck U.S. 19, Sawmill Run Boulevard. Southbound Truck U.S. 19 does not go through Fort Pitt Tunnel, even though northbound does pass through the tunnel! Photo taken 11/02/04.
The two left lanes prepare to enter the Fort Pitt Tunnel, while the right two lanes exit only onto Pennsylvania 837. For through traffic, Pennsylvania 837 (Exit 5C) can be a reasonable alternate route to avoid congestion within the tunnel; just take Pennsylvania 837 northwest to U.S. 19, then take U.S. 19 south around Mount Washington to rejoin Interstate 279. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Southbound Interstate 279 enters the Fort Pitt Tunnel at a slightly lower grade than the northbound lanes, which are visible to the left and above the southbound lanes. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The southbound bore of the Fort Pitt Tunnel is also only two lanes wide, with no passing allowed within the tunnel. Photos taken 11/02/04.
Upon exiting the Fort Pitt Tunnel, the first exit is Exit 5A, U.S. 19 south on Banksville Road. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Use Exit 5A to follow U.S. 19 south to Mount Lebanon, Bethel Park, Washington County, and Uniontown. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The three left lanes continue south on Interstate 279 and west on U.S. 22-30, while the right lane exits onto U.S. 19 south to Mt. Lebanon via Banksville Road. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Southbound Interstate 279 and westbound U.S. 22-30 reaches Exit 5A, U.S. 19 (Banksville Road) south. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 4B, Parkway Center Drive; the following exit is Exit 4A, Pennsylvania 121 (Greentree Road). There is no access to Exit 4b from northbound Interstate 279, and there is no direct access back to southbound Interstate 279. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Southbound Interstate 279 reaches Exit 4B, Parkway Center Drive west to Parkway Center Mall and Greentree Road. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 4A, Pennsylvania 121, Greentree Road. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The right lane becomes exit only for Exit 4A, Pennsylvania 121, Greentree Road. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Pennsylvania 121 follows the Blue Belt and Greentree Road through the borough of Green Tree. It connects to Pennsylvania 50 (Noblestown Road) to the north via Poplar Street. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The right lane exits only onto Pennsylvania 121, Greentree Road. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 2, Pennsylvania 50. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Pennsylvania 50 originates just north of here near Crafton, and it extends southwest to Cecil, and it then travels west to Independence near the West Virginia State Line. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Use Pennsylvania 50 west to Carnegie and Heidelburg. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The Norfolk and Western Railway, which parallels Interstate 279 through the Borough of Green Tree, crosses the freeway here. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Southbound Interstate 279 and westbound U.S. 22-30 reaches Exit 2, Pennsylvania 50 south to downtown Carnegie. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Interstate 279 and U.S. 22-30 cross a viaduct bridge that carries the freeway over railroad tracks, Arch Street, and Chartiers Creek. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The next exit along southbound is Exit 1B, Rosslyn Farms Road, followed by Exit 1A, Interstate 79. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Rosslyn Farms Road connects Interstate 279 with Rosslyn Farms, a sparsely populated borough in Allegheny County. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Southbound Interstate 279 reaches Exit 1B, Rosslyn Farms Road. The final exit is the junction with Interstate 79 (Exit 1A). The two left lanes continue as U.S. 22-30 westbound toward the international airport and West Virginia/Ohio destinations. Photo taken 11/02/04.
The end of Interstate 279 is signed just prior to the transition ramp to Interstate 79. Use Interstate 79 north to Erie and south to Washington (PA) and Morgantown. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Southbound Interstate 279, which is really traveling due west here, reaches the exit ramp to Interstate 79 north and south. The parkway continues west as U.S. 22-30. Continue west on U.S. 22-30 to Pennsylvania 60 en route to Pittsburgh International Airport. Photo taken 11/02/04.
Interstate 279 scenes
Close-up of signage for Interstate 279 southbound from Pennsylvania 51. Photo taken 10/14/01.
The Fort Pitt Bridge was under construction at the time this photo was taken, as seen from Station Square on the south shore of the Monongahela River. An approaching storm darkens the view. Photo taken 5/24/02.
Onramp from Spring Garden onto northbound Interstate 279 just north of Pennsylvania 28 on the North Shore. Photo taken 5/24/02.
Interstate 279 Pennsylvania shield as seen from U.S. 19, Perry Highway, in front of a gas station in West View, a northern suburb of Pittsburgh. The trailblazer signage points to Exit 14 via Highland Avenue from U.S. 19. Photo taken 5/24/02.
View of the downtown Interstate 279 bridges from PNC Park. The Duquesne Bridge is in the foreground, and the Fort Pitt Bridge is visible immediately behind it and to the left (the white tarp is in place due to construction on the lower deck at the time of this photo; Interstate 279 was closed in a southerly direction at this time). Photo taken 5/24/02.
View of the double-decker Interstate 279 as seen from PNC Park. Photo taken 5/24/02.

Page Updated April 13, 2005.

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