Pennsylvania Road Network

By | October 13, 2022

The Bridges of Pittsburgh.

Pennsylvania has a fairly extensive road network, there are quite a few highways, although there are still large areas without highways, especially in the border region with New York State. Most highways are located around the major cities. The secondary road network is formed by a large number of US Highways and State Routes. Both types can also be partly a motorway, which is also a regular occurrence. The state is a major transit state from the New York and Boston regions to the Midwest and beyond, or to the southern states.

  • Bittranslators: State overview of Pennsylvania, including geography, economy, population and history as well as introduction to major cities of Pennsylvania.

Road management

The state highway authority is the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, abbreviated PennDOT. The state operates an extensive network of roads ranging from expressways to secondary country roads, leaving a large share of the total road network under state control. PennDOT manages more than 65,000 miles of road and more than 25,000 bridges. There are no roads in the administration of the counties, but the townships manage most of the rural road network which is of minor importance, more than 82,000 kilometers of road is in the administration of the townships. In total, there are more than 190,000 kilometers of road in Pennsylvania, the remainder of which is controlled by boroughs and cities.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission manages the state’s several toll roads, including the pivotal Pennsylvania Turnpike , the state’s major highway, as this toll road connects the state’s two largest metropolitan areas. Several bridges on the border with New Jersey are managed by other authorities, these are often toll roads as well.

Pennsylvania is notorious for the poor condition of its road network. The road surface of many highways is seriously outdated. In addition, many expressways in urban areas are substandard because they were designed in the 1950s. In 2017, Pennsylvania had the second largest amount of bridges in poor condition in the United States. [4] In 2015, an $889 million concession was awarded to replace 558 smaller bridges on the state highway network over a 3-year period.

  • Deluxesurveillance: Nickname of Pennsylvania as The Keystone State. Also covers geography, history, economy, politics and administration of the state.

Interstate Highways

Pennsylvania’s Interstate Highway Network.

Several Interstate Highways cross the state of Pennsylvania. Interstate 70 is largely an east-west route through the southwestern part of the state, and traffic must exit I-70 at the infamous Breezewood and cross that town’s street network to follow the highway toward Baltimore. ‘Breezewood’ is therefore one of the best-known villages in the United States because of the fact that traffic on a transcontinental highway still has to pass through a village. Interstate 76 forms an east-west route that runs north from Pittsburgh, then past Harrisburg and on into downtown Philadelphia. I-76 is mostly a toll road and makes up the bulk of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I-70 and I-76 are a long stretch double-numbered in the western part of the state.

Interstate 78 is an east-west route in the east of the state, primarily handling traffic from Harrisburg toward the Lehigh Valley (Allentown) and the Newark metropolitan area in New Jersey. Interstate 79 is the main north-south route in the west of the state, terminating in Erie. I-70, I-76, and I-79 form a triangle of freeways that run well around Pittsburgh.

Interstate 80 runs through northern Pennsylvania as an east-west route from Chicago to New York. It is striking, however, that I-80 in Pennsylvania does not serve larger places in Pennsylvania despite the great distance that the highway travels through the state. Interstate 81 forms a north-south route through the center of the state, passing through Harrisburg and Scranton. This is the main north-south route to Upstate New York. Interstate 83 is a shorter north-south route in the south of the state, coming from Baltimore and ending in Harrisburg. I-76, I-81 and I-83 converge around Harrisburg.

Interstate 84 begins near Scranton and heads east toward Hartford, and along with I-81 is a sort of bypass for long-haul traffic around New York City. Interstate 86 begins at Erie but runs just a few miles through Pennsylvania before entering New York state. Interstate 90 runs through the far north of the state, via Erie along Lake Erie and is primarily a through traffic highway between Cleveland and Buffalo. However, in combination with I-79, it is an important connection between Canada and the southern United States. Interstate 95 runs almost exclusively through the Philadelphia metropolitan region, but through traffic on the I-95 corridor along the east coast of the United States typically uses the New Jersey Turnpike rather than the Philadelphia route. Interstate 99 forms a north-south connection through the center of the state and serves smaller towns such as Altoona, State College and Williamsport. However, I-99 does not connect directly to I-70/76 at Bedford and has a double numbering with I-80.

There are also several auxiliary routes of Interstate Highways in Pennsylvania, mainly in the metropolitan areas. Interstate 176 is a spur that connects the town of Reading to I-76. Interstate 180 is a spur that connects the city of Williamsport to I-80 and destinations further south. Interstate 276 is a continuation of the Pennsylvania Turnpike along the north side of Philadelphia, into New Jersey. Interstate 279 forms a major north-south route through Pittsburgh. Interstate 283 forms the eastern portion of the beltway around the capital Harrisburg, while Interstate 376 forms a regional link between Sharon and Pittsburgh. Interstate 380 is a link connecting Scranton with I-80 toward New Jersey. Known as the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 476 is a toll road connecting Philadelphia to Allentown and Scranton, the primary north-south route of eastern Pennsylvania and one of the longest auxiliary routes of the Interstate system at 213 kilometers. highway. Finally, Interstate 676 connects through downtown Philadelphia.

US Highways

Numerous US Highways traverse Pennsylvania, and most US Highways have been converted to expressway (freeway) at some point, although few US Highways are dominant at distances greater than 150 miles. Major US Highways that have been developed as freeways are US 1 southwest of Philadelphia, in the city of Philadelphia and northeast of Philadelphia to Trenton, New Jersey, US 15 past Gettysburg, US 22 between Ebensburg and Altoona, as well as between Lewiston and Harrisburg and along Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton (Lehigh Valley) and US 30 between York and Lancaster, as well as in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

US 119 also has some short highway sections around Uniontown, Greensburg and Indiana, US 202 is part highway through the western suburbs of Philadelphia, US 219 between Meyersdale and Ebensburg, US 220 which coincides with I-99, US 222 between Lancaster and Reading, some portions of US 322, which partly coincide with the highway portions of US 22, and US 422 between Reading and the Philadelphia suburbs.

Other US Highways are predominantly two-lane roads and often run parallel to Interstate Highways and are therefore of relatively little importance. Sometimes they are still 2×2 divided highways, in particular the US 11/15, US 20, US 22 and US 30. Some US Highways completely or largely coincide with Interstate Highways, in particular the US 15 and US 220 which partly coincide with I-99 and often its predecessor.

State routes

Pennsylvania has a large network of state routes. They are usually abbreviated to ‘PA XX’ or ‘PA Route XX’ in written language. All numbered roads (including US Highways and Interstate Highways) are registered in the Location Referencing System as SR-XX. The road numbers are 1 to 3 digits, although there are also 4 digit administrative numbers that are not communicated to the public.

The network of state routes is very extensive, every hamlet is served by a state route and these are almost always paved roads. State routes mainly fulfill a connecting function in the countryside, but are sometimes designed as expressways ( freeways ).

The following state routes are expressway (freeway):

  • PA 28: Pittsburgh – Kittanning
  • PA 33: Bethlehem – Stroudsburg
  • PA 43: West Virginia – Uniontown – Jefferson Hills (Mon-Fayette Expressway)
  • PA 63: Woodhaven Road in Philadelphia
  • PA 66: New Stanton – Delmont
  • PA 100: along West Chester
  • PA 283: Harrisburg – Lancaster
  • PA 307: North Scranton Expressway
  • PA 309: Philadelphia – Spring House, Colmar – Perkasie, by Wilkes-Barre
  • PA 576: Pittsburgh
  • PA 581: Harrisburg

Road numbering

  • 0001-0999 – Primary routes (traffic routes) Only these routes are signposted.
  • 1000-4999 – Quadrant routes (in a county)
  • 1000-1999 – Northeast quadrant of county (non-traffic routes)
  • 2000-2999 – Southeast quadrant of county (non-traffic routes)
  • 3000-3999 – Southwest quadrant of county (non-traffic routes)
  • 4000-4999 – Northwest quadrant of county (non-traffic routes)
  • 5000-5999 – Unused
  • 6000-6999 – replaced traffic routes
  • 7000-7999 – Transferred, disused or other unused routes
  • 8001-8999 – nodes
  • 9101-9199 – connecting roads in junctions with 3 branches (so-called WYEs)
  • 9201-9299 – Rest areas / rest areas
  • 9301-9399 – Truck escape ramps
  • 9401-9499 – Other

Toll roads

Several toll roads in Pennsylvania are administered by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The most important are the Pennsylvania Turnpike and its Northeast Extension (I-476). These toll roads connect Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Scranton. In southwestern Pennsylvania is the Mon-Fayette Expressway. On part of Interstate 376 also has to be paid as an offshoot of the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the westernmost part of the state. Since 2007, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has been required to relinquish a portion of toll revenue to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) to subsidize public transportation in the Philadelphia area. Despite doubling tolls, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is losing billions from this construction.

In addition, many bridges over the Delaware River require tolls where it forms the border with New Jersey. There are several major toll bridges near Philadelphia, such as the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, the Betsy Ross Bridge, the Commodore Barry Bridge, the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, and the Walt Whitman Bridge. All bridges over the Delaware River are tolled only toward Pennsylvania. These toll bridges are operated by the Delaware River and Bay Authority and the Delaware River Port Authority.


The Benjamin Franklin Bridge (I-676) in Philadelphia, opened in 1926.

Pennsylvania had many classic turnpikes in the 1800s, improved roads for tolled wagons. Numerous present-day US Highways have been constructed over these historic turnpikes. In 1911, 6,500 kilometers of road was placed under state administration and administratively numbered as the Legislative Routes. Later, some signposted car trails also ran by Pennsylvania. In 1924, the first 12 state trails were signposted. US Highways were introduced in 1926, and in 1928 a renumbering was made, eliminating state routes that coincided with US Highways. In 1931, the state took over 32,438 kilometers of road, greatly increasing the state’s network of roads to become one of the largest in the United States.

The history of Pennsylvania highways begins with turnpikes, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was the first true long-haul route in the United States, opening to traffic in 1940 between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. In the 1950’s it was extended east to Philadelphia and west to the Ohio border. Branches were also built, such as the Northeast Extension (I-476) to Scranton and the Turnpike Connector (I-276) along the north side of Philadelphia to the New Jersey Turnpike. At that time, a large network of toll roads was planned, but the creation of the Interstate Highway system in 1956 brought federal dollars to the state to build toll-free highways. Some of these highways predate the Interstate Highway network, most prominently the toll roads, but also I-83 from Baltimore to Harrisburg. In addition, many current Interstate Highways were already planned as toll roads in the 1950s, but were eventually built toll-free. During the 1960s, most of Pennsylvania’s highway network was built, extending into the 1970s. Only a few short stretches have been opened since 1980, prominently I-476 west of Philadelphia and I-279 in the center of Pennsylvania. north of Pittsburgh. Also, I-99 is a recent addition to the Interstate Highway network and was completed in 2008. The song still causes a lot of commotion within the road world of the United States.


Pennsylvania’s metropolitan areas are relatively congested due to the aging highway network. There are several bottlenecks with only 2×2 lanes, the most famous of which is the Schuylkill Expressway (I-76) in Philadelphia. Also, Interstate 376 in Pittsburgh has two tunnels with only 2×2 lanes that are classic bottlenecks. A classic bottleneck is also Interstate 476 along the west side of Philadelphia. In addition, many urban highways have been constructed with substandard design requirements due to their age. These are less able to handle the traffic.

In contrast, it is possible for through traffic to bypass the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Traffic around Philadelphia remains fairly well out of the city with the New Jersey Turnpike and Pennsylvania Turnpike. Pittsburgh has a triangle of Interstate Highways, I-70, I-76 and I-79 that run quite well outside the city.

Philadelphia lacks a good urban highway network, and some major connections have only 2×2 lanes, making this city quite prone to congestion. On the other hand, Philadelphia is a rather dispersed agglomeration, with many employment opportunities in the suburbs, especially around King of Prussia, a major highway junction. However, the metropolitan area of Philadelphia is very vast and has a relatively fragmented and inefficient highway network.

The problem in Pittsburgh is primarily the topography. While there are many bridges over the rivers, the hills mean that traffic is concentrated on only a few routes, which also have some significant bottlenecks, most notably the Squirrel Hill Tunnel and the Fort Pitt Tunnel. In particular, because I-70 runs so far from Pittsburgh, inter-suburban traffic still has to drive through downtown.

Pennsylvania Road Network