Pennsylvania Turnpike


I-70 / I-76 / I-276
Get started columbia
End youngstown
Length 360 mi
Length 580 km
Ohio Ohio Turnpike10 → Pittsburgh Airport / New Castle

13 Beaver Falls

28 → Pittsburgh / Erie

39 Hampton / Bakerstown

48 Springdale

57 → Pittsburgh

67 Irwin

75 → Wheeling / Greensburg

91 Donegal

110 Somerset

146 Bedford

161 → Washington / Baltimore

180 Fort Littleton

189 Fannettsburg

201 Newburg

226 Carlisle

236 → Harrisburg / Gettysburg

242 → Harrisburg / Baltimore

247 → Harrisburg / Scranton

266 Manheim

286 Reamstown / Swartzville

298 → Reading

312 Exton

320 Malvern

326 → Philadelphia

333 → Scranton / Chester

339 Fort Washington

340 Virginia Drive

343 Willow Grove

351 → Philadelphia / Trenton

→ Philadelphia / Trenton

358 Levittown

Delaware River-Toll Bridge


→ New York City

According to Beautyphoon, the Pennsylvania Turnpike is a network of toll roads ( turnpikes ) in the US state of Pennsylvania. The network includes 855 kilometers of motorway on three different routes. The main stretch is the south east-west route in Pennsylvania and travels on Interstate 76 and Interstate 70 from the Ohio border northwest of Pittsburgh, through the state capital Harrisburg to the Philadelphia metropolitan area, from where the Pennsylvania Turnpike over Interstate 276 to the border with New Jersey between Philadelphia and Trenton. There is also the Pennsylvania Turnpike Extension, which includes Interstate 476, from Philadelphia to Scranton in the northeast of the state.

Route numbers

  • Interstate 76 from the Ohio border to King of Prussia near Philadelphia
  • Interstate 70 is partially double-numbered with I-76.
  • Interstate 276 along the north side of Philadelphia.
  • Interstate 476 from King of Prussia near Philadelphia to Scranton.
  • Interstate 95 that in the future will run over the Pennsylvania Turnpike to New Jersey instead of via the west side of Trenton.

Travel directions

Region of Pittsburgh

I-76 at Monroeville near Pittsburgh.

Northwest of Enon Valley, Interstate 76 in Ohio enters the state of Pennsylvania from the Youngstown region. The highway then has 2×2 lanes, and you pass through slightly sloping area. Near Big Beaver, the first interchange soon follows, with State Route 60, a highway from Pittsburgh to New Castle. The area then becomes a bit more hilly, and you quickly reach the furthest suburbs of Pittsburgh. At Warrendale one crosses Interstate 79, which runs from Pittsburgh to Erie. If you want to go downtown Pittsburgh, it’s best to take this highway, as I-76 only goes through the northernmost and eastern suburbs. One then passes through hilly areas dotted with small suburbs of usually only a few thousand inhabitants. This section is a toll road, so there are few exits.

The highway goes around the densely built-up parts of the agglomeration quite well. The area is also quite densely wooded and hilly, so there is no grid pattern. One then crosses State Route 28, the highway from Pittsburgh to Kittaning, but there are no direct interchanges. Soon after, the highway crosses the Allegheny River, a tributary of the Ohio River. The highway just has 2×2 lanes here. On the eastern side of the conurbation, one crosses Interstate 376, the eastern highway of the city of Pittsburgh. After that, the suburbs quickly become thinner, and they are further apart. At Greensburg you still cross the US 30, a somewhat larger highway to the southeast. After that you really leave the big thin conurbation, and not much further Interstate 70 joins in, coming from Columbus in Ohio. Both roads are then double-numbered over a large distance.

Central Pennsylvania

I-76 near the Blue Mountain Tunnel.

The double numbering of I-70 with I-76 is one of the longest in the United States and is 197 kilometers long. The Turnpike then winds through the mountains, the central part of Pennsylvania is quite mountainous, due to the many ridges of the Appalachian Mountains. The exits are usually 20 to 30 kilometers apart. The area is also sparsely populated. At Somerset you cross the US 219, but there are no exchange possibilities for that. Connecting northern Maryland to Johnstown, US 219 is a regional highway with no through importance. Just east of Somerset comes the first tunnel, the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel. This tunnel dates from 1939 and is almost 2 kilometers long. Tunnels are an exception in the American highway network in mountain areas. After the tunnel, the highway quickly descends a few hundred meters. At Bedford, it interchanges with Interstate 99, the highway to Altoona and State College, two cities in central Pennsylvania.

The Turnpike then continues its winding road through the Appalachian Mountains. You then pass Breezewood, the last missing link where through traffic has to take a city road. Interstate 70 turns south here toward Baltimore and Washington. Traffic to Philadelphia and New York can follow Interstate 76, which has no interruption. Breezewood is therefore an important interchange for east-west traffic. Between Breezewood and Hustontown, I-76 has a different route than it used to be. The old Turnpike went through two tunnels, which already had a lot of traffic jams before the 1960s. At the time, it was considered cheaper to build a new highway than to build a second tunnel tube.

A little further on you come to the second tunnel, the 1.6 kilometer long Tuscacora tunnel, which goes under a steep ridge. Not much further on are a third and fourth tunnel, which are 200 meters apart. First up is the Kittatinny Tunnel which is 1.5 kilometers long and the Blue Mountain Tunnel which is 1.4 kilometers long. Two parallel steep ridges are crossed here. After that, the highway runs straight to the east for miles, which at the time was still quite unusual to build in this way.


One then reaches Carlisle, a suburb of Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. Here one crosses Interstate 81, the highway from Hagerstown in Maryland to Scranton in northern Pennsylvania. To get to this highway, you have to drive one kilometer via the secondary road network. Harrisburg has about 50,000 inhabitants, but the agglomeration is a lot bigger with 652,000 inhabitants. Interstate 76 continues south of the city, with 2×2 lanes and is still a toll road. Here you cross the US 15, a regional highway to the well-known town of Gettysburg. On the south side of the city, one crosses Interstate 83, the highway from Baltimorein the south. Not far afterwards, the 1300 meter long Susquehanna River Bridge crosses the great Susquehanna River. Immediately afterwards, one crosses Interstate 283, Harrisburg ‘s eastern bypass. State Route 283 also goes here to Lancaster, a larger city in the southeast, where Interstate 76 passes at some distance.

Eastern Pennsylvania

The TOTSO of I-76 at King of Prussia, just outside of Philadelphia.

After Harrisburg, the area becomes flatter, and it consists mainly of agricultural areas. In this region are the towns of Lancaster and Reading, but Interstate 76 runs some distance between the two places. The highway also has 2×2 lanes here. US 322 runs more or less parallel to the highway. At Reamston you cross the US 222, the highway from Lancaster to Reading. Direct exchange options do not matter, having to go through a Spur Road. Interstate 176 ends at Morgantown, which runs to Reading. Then one enters the area of ​​influence of Philadelphia, which is still about 80 kilometers to the southeast. Nevertheless, there are already some sparsely built suburbs, located in wooded areas. However, Interstate 76 still has 2×2 lanes. At King of Prussia, you really enter the conurbation, turning off Interstate 76, while the Pennsylvania Turnpike continues on Interstate 276 along the north side of Pennsylvania. Traffic to New York must follow this highway.

Interstate 276

The starting point of I-276 at King of Prussia.

I-276 at Willow Grove.

At the suburb of King of Prussia, Interstate 76 turns south as the Schuylkill Expressway, while the Pennsylvania Turnpike toll road continues straight on as Interstate 276. The toll road has 2×3 lanes here, but has few exits. There is no alternative for commuter traffic in the form of a parallel highway, so I-276 is primarily intended for through traffic towards New York. At the suburb of Plymouth Meeting, a complex interchange quickly follows with Interstate 476, which runs south to the suburb of Chester and north to the city of Scranton in northern Pennsylvania. The Turnpike then continues through the wooded suburbs north ofphiladelphia. Most suburbs are small, usually having fewer than 20,000 inhabitants. However, together they form a large, yet sparsely built-up urban area.

The highway has only 4 exits in Pennsylvania. One crosses the US 1, which runs from Philadelphia to New York. One also crosses the Interstate 95, but there are no interchanges for this. The Delaware River – Turnpike Toll Bridge, a 2×2 lane bridge, crosses the Delaware River and enters the state of New Jersey. The highway then continues for a few more miles until the New Jersey Turnpike, where traffic heading north must turn north for New York.


The highway opened in the 1940s and was the first long-haul highway in the United States. The Turnpike was built in part on an early abandoned railway and six of the seven tunnels on the route were built for the railway at the time. The construction of that railway started in 1880 but was never finished despite the construction of almost 8 kilometers of tunnel. The first proposals to use the tunnels in a highway date back to 1934, which would allow the route to avoid the steep slopes of existing US Highways, as the Appalachian Mountains have long escarpments running north-south while the Turnpike straddles an east-south ridge. west route.

Construction of the Pennsylvania Turnpike began on October 27, 1938 by getting the tunnels ready. On October 1, 1940, the first section of the highway opened from Carlisle west of Harrisburg to Irwin east of Pittsburgh. The highway then had 2×2 lanes and grade -separated intersections, but had one lane in each direction in the tunnels. Unlike New York ‘s Parkways, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was also allowed to drive trucks. The highway is loosely based on the first German Autobahnen. There was also no speed limit on the highway at the time. There were dangers of polder blindness because the highway has some particularly long straight sections. Between the Blue Mountain Tunnel and the end at Carlisle, the highway continues straight for 34 kilometers.

With the success of the route, work began on a longer statewide route, connecting the two economic centers of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. On November 20, 1950, it reaches the King of Prussia highway, then Philadelphia’s first suburb from the west. Then the highway was extended west to Monroeville, just east of Pittsburgh on August 7, 1951. Not long after, on December 26, 1951, the highway was virtually complete to the Ohio border. In 1954 the highway was connected to the Ohio Turnpike.

On August 23, 1954, the first section north of Philadelphia opened to the east. By the end of that year, the Pennsylvania Turnpike nearly reached the New Jersey border formed by the Delaware River. On May 23, 1956, the bridge over the Delaware opened, completing the highway from the Ohio border to the New Jersey border as a through toll road. Across the New Jersey border, a short link road gave access to the New Jersey Turnpike.

From 1955 to 1957, the Northeastern Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was constructed. This was the last section of the Turnpike to be constructed. Initially, this section from Philadelphia to Scranton was given the State Route 9 number, but was later renumbered as Interstate 476. They would have preferred a 2-digit Interstate number, but these were no longer available in this part of the United States.

Opening history

From Unpleasant Length Date
Irwin Carlisle 257 km 01-10-1940
Carlisle Harrisburg (US 15) 16 km 01-02-1950
Harrisburg King of Prussia 145 km 20-11-1950
Monroeville Irwin 18 km 07-08-1951
Ohio state line Monroeville 90 km 26-12-1951

Blown-off sections of the Pennsylvania Turnpike

After the main east-west route was built, plans emerged for a larger toll road network in the state of Pennsylvania, some 1,600 kilometers long. However, when the Interstate Highway system was launched, it was canceled and sections were built as toll-free highways.

  • Chester Extension – Now Interstate 476 between Chester and the Northeast Extension.
  • Northwest Extension – Now Interstate 79 that was to connect to the New York State Thruway.
  • Southwest Extension – Now Interstate 79 to run from the Northwest Extension to West Virginia.
  • Gettysburg Extension – Now US 15, the bypass of Gettysburg
  • Northeastern Extension – Now Interstate 81, extending the Northeastern Extension from Scranton to the New York border.
  • Philadelphia Loop Connection – Now part of Interstate 95 from downtown Philadelphia to I-276.
  • Sharon Lateral Connection – now Interstate 80.

Although all of these connections had been canceled as toll roads, there were plans for parallel lanes such as the 4×2 New Jersey Turnpike with the inner lanes for cars and the outer lanes for trucks, buses and trailers. This plan resulted in regular realignment of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which was called off in 1976. By the 1980s, parts of the idea had been built, such as truck crawl spaces and a partial widening to 2×3 lanes.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike now

As the Turnpike has been in service for over 70 years now, parts need to be replaced. The first open section between Carlisle and Irwin, which consisted of concrete slabs, has been given a completely new foundation and road surface. A part has also been widened to 2×3 lanes. In addition, connections are being modernized and viaducts replaced. Between Norristown and Valley Forge, the highway has since been widened to 2×3 lanes. In addition, the Turnpike will have a new interchange with Interstate 95, which will then no longer run from Norristown towards Trenton, but towards the New Jersey Turnpike.

Since 2005, the full length Turnpike has had an overall speed limit of 65 miles, or 105 km/hr, excluding tunnels. This makes the Turnpike the first full state highway with such a high speed limit. There were plans to turn Interstate 80, the northeastern east-west highway from Cleveland to New York, into a toll road as well.


Most of the network includes a closed toll system where you get a ticket when entering and only have to pay when you leave the highway. You can also pay with the electronic E-ZPass system. It is planned to switch to all-electronic tolling from the end of 2021.

In 2019, a passenger vehicle toll for the entire route from the Ohio border to the Delaware River bridge was $58.30 cash and $41.70 with an E-ZPass. In cash this works out to about $0.10 per kilometer. Regular trucks up to 40 tons pay $300.80 cash or $215.90 with an E-ZPass.

Originally, all toll revenue from the Pennsylvania Turnpike went to the toll road, however, since 2007, the turnpike has been required to contribute $450 million per year to PennDOT for other road and transit projects. Since 2014, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has had to pay $450 million to subsidize public transportation in Pennsylvania. Between 2007 and 2017, motorists paid $5.65 billion in tolls for transit projects. The toll rates have also been increased significantly, with an increase of 6% in 2018. Almost half of the toll revenue has to be paid to the state, which mainly spends it on unprofitable public transport. Tolls doubled between 2007 and 2017. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is now considered one of the most expensive long-distance toll roads in the United States.

Traffic intensities

About 22,000 vehicles enter the state of Pennsylvania from Ohio every day, increasing from 35,000 to 47,000 vehicles passing through Pittsburgh. East of the city this drops to 36,000 vehicles per day. After Breezewood, the I-70 turns off and the intensity drops to about 23,000 vehicles per day. Along Harrisburg, intensities aren’t much higher at 28,000. Towards Philadelphia this rises to 49,000 vehicles, but in Philadelphia the road is toll-free, and at King of Prussia there are 116,000 vehicles per day.

Pennsylvania Turnpike