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Interstate 81 or I -81 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Pennsylvania. The highway forms a north-south route through the center of the state, from the Maryland border at state line to the New York state border at Great Bend. The highway connects the capital Harrisburg as well as the larger city of Scranton. I-81 is 374 kilometers long in Pennsylvania.
- ElectronicsMatter: State facts of Pennsylvania, covering history, geography, demography, economics, politics, and administrative division of Pennsylvania.
I-81 on the state line from Maryland.
I-81 at Scranton.
At the hamlet of State Line, Interstate 81 in Maryland enters the state of Pennsylvania from Hagerstown. It crosses a fairly flat part of the state, the Appalachian Mountains are a bit further west here. The area consists mainly of meadows. Parallel to the I-81 is the US 11. You pass Chambersburg, a regional town with 18,000 inhabitants, where you cross the US 30, which runs from York to Breezewood. The I-81 then turns more to the east. After a while, the highway almost runs next to Interstate 76, which comes from Pittsburgh. At Carlisle, the two roads cross each other, but there are no interchanges, as the I-76 is a toll road. Traffic directionPhiladelphia or Pittsburgh must use the secondary road network.
One then reaches the Harrisburg metropolitan area. The city is the capital of Pennsylvania and has 49,000 inhabitants, but an agglomeration of 652,000 inhabitants. One intersects with SR-581, the Harrisburg Expressway, which leads downtown. The wide river Susquehanna is crossed over a bridge of more than one and a half kilometres. The Susquehanna is one of the largest rivers in Pennsylvania. There are junctions with the underlying road network on both banks. One then crosses US 22, a highway that leads into the mountains to Lewistown in the northwest. One then passes along the north side of Harrisburg. Interstate 83 ends on the east side of Harrisburg, which leads to York andBaltimore is running. Then they leave the agglomeration.
I-81 here follows an easterly direction, and is also important for traffic to New York. At the hamlet of Bordnersville, I-81 exits via a TOTSO, and Interstate 78 continues straight to Allentown and New York. I-81 runs more northeast from here, through the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. The highway winds around the ridges, which the highway goes through and over. At Tremont you cross the US 209, which runs from Millersburg to Pottsville. At the height of the regional town of Hazleton one crosses the Interstate 80, the highway from Cleveland to New York. One then crosses the last two ridges before reaching the conurbation of Scranton.
Scranton has 76,000 inhabitants, and together with Wilkes-Barre forms an elongated conurbation on the Susquehanna River with 625,000 inhabitants. The first town you pass is Wilkes-Barre, and the highway here is sandwiched between the town and the hills. After this, Interstate 476 runs parallel to I-81, sometimes just 40 yards away. The two roads intersect on the south side of Scranton, but there are no direct interchanges as I-476 is a toll road, the North East Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I-81 then runs along the east side of Scranton, crossing Interstate 84, which begins here, and runs to Hartford, north of New Yorkby. Straight ahead is US 6, which is a short highway to Carbondale. I-81 turns northwest here.
It then crosses US 11, the Scranton Expressway that leads to the center of town. On the north side of Scranton, I-476 ends at I-81 on a 180-degree turn. After this, the agglomeration is left. The I-81 then leads through a slightly hilly area with an alternation of meadows and forests to the north. This part of Pennsylvania is sparsely populated, and there are few major exits. At the height of Great Bend one crosses the border with the state of New York. Interstate 81 in New York then continues to Binghamton and Syracuse.
I-81 was planned north of Scranton as an extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Extension, today Interstate 476. Before the plans became concrete, the Interstate Highway system was created in 1956, and construction started with federal money, so toll-free. The first section along Scranton opened to traffic in 1960. As early as 1962, the route from Scranton to the New York state border was completed. I-81 was then opened fairly quickly during the 1960s, although the opening of the last central section in the Harrisburg area was delayed somewhat. The last link at Harrisburg opened to traffic in 1976.
- Fun-wiki: Brief information of the state Pennsylvania, covering basic history and geography as well as top cities of Pennsylvania.
|Exit 188||Exit 191||5 km||1960|
|MD state line||Exit 3||5 km||1961|
|Exit 211||NY state line||34 km||1961|
|Exit 44||exit 48||6 km||1962|
|Exit 187||Exit 188||2 km||1962|
|Exit 191||Exit 211||32 km||1962|
|Exit 3||Exit 5||3 km||1963|
|exit 48||Exit 52||6 km||1963|
|Exit 186||Exit 187||2 km||1963|
|Exit 29||Exit 44||24 km||1964|
|Exit 170||Exit 175||8 km||1964|
|Exit 5||Exit 29||39 km||1965|
|Exit 165||Exit 170||8 km||1966|
|Exit 175||Exit 186||19 km||1966|
|Exit 145||Exit 159||23 km||22-08-1966|
|Exit 143||Exit 145||3 km||1968|
|Exit 159||Exit 165||10 km||1968|
|Exit 116||Exit 143||43 km||1969|
|exit 70||Exit 104||55 km||1970|
|exit 112||Exit 116||6 km||1970|
|Exit 104||exit 112||13 km||1971|
|Exit 65||Exit 66||2 km||1975|
|exit 57||Exit 65||13 km||1976|
|Exit 66||exit 70||6 km||1976|
I-81 at Harrisburg.
In the 1990s, a 7-kilometer section of I-81 near Scranton was widened to 2×3 lanes, between the Scranton Expressway and PA-347 in Dunmore. This project also included the replacement of a valley viaduct, the reconstruction of the interchange with I-84/I-380, and the construction of a short parallel structure between I-84/I-380 and PA-347 in Dunmore.
The portion of I-81 along the north side of Harrisburg, between PA-581 and I-83, was built directly in 1976 with 2×3 lanes. In 2016-2017, a short 2-mile stretch on the west side of Harrisburg was widened to 2×3 lanes between PA-114 and PA-581. The extra lanes opened on November 19, 2017.
South of Harrisburg, I-81 has about 45,000 vehicles per day, rising to 80,000 after the intersection with I-76. The busiest point at Harrisburg is between US 22 and I-83 with 102,000 vehicles per day. After the intersection with I-78, this drops to 25,000 vehicles per day. There are about 65,000 vehicles per day at Wilkes-Barre, and 79,000 at Scranton, making the highway not very busy. North of Scranton, there are 25,000 vehicles per day.