Interstate 76 straddles the west banks of the Schuylkill River along a narrow right of way. As such, the Schuylkill Expressway is generally six lanes in width, with auxiliary lanes added in locations. The winding nature of the freeway includes the locally infamous “Conshohocken Curve.” A routine site for congestion and traffic incidents, this section of roadway lies east of Interstate 476 (Mid-County Expressway) and across the river from the borough of Conshohocken.
The Schuylkill Expressway was the first freeway constructed within Philadelphia, with work commencing in 1949. Extending southeast from the Valley Forge Interchange from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, the expressway opened in Montgomery County on September 1, 1954. The route was designated as PA 43.1
The 1956 Federal Highway Act provided needed funding for completion of the Schuylkill Expressway. With it came several Interstate numbering proposals, with 80S ultimately selected in November 1958 for the route between the PA Turnpike and the Vine Street Expressway, and 680 for the southern loop to the Walt Whitman Bridge. The freeway was completed on June 30, 1959, with the portion west of Center City opened at that time.1
Interstate 80S was decommissioned through Philadelphia in 1964, with the Schuylkill Expressway between Valley Forge and the Vine Street Expressway renumbered as I-76. I-76 remained planned along the Vine Street Expressway east to the Ben Franklin Bridge and south through Camden, New Jersey, with I-680 along the southern most Schuylkill Expressway changed to Interstate 676.
With completion of the Vine Street Expressway uncertain, a final numbering change occurred in 1973 as I-76 and I-676 switched places. Using the Walt Whitman Bridge, this provided a continuous route for I-76 south to Interstate 295 in South Jersey.