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Interstate 83

 

Routing

Interstate 83 replaced the U.S. 111 corridor between Baltimore, Maryland, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The southern terminus was to have linked with Interstate 95 in eastern Baltimore; however, as was the case with many Baltimore freeway plans, was curtailed by community opposition. A stub exit exists on Interstate 95 northbound at the O'Donnell Street exit for what was to have been Interstate 83 access ramps. A ghost gantry is also present there.

Parallel/Historic U.S. Routes

Interstate 83 replaced U.S. 111 from Baltimore north to Harrisburg.

History

Interstate 83 began as a short section of U.S. 111 freeway in 1950. By 1960, most of the U.S. 111 freeway in Pennsylvania was completed, just in time to be redesignated as Interstate 83. U.S. 111 was retired in 1963, and Interstate 83 was fully completed by 1971.2 In Maryland, Interstate 83 also began as a U.S. 111 freeway, with initial completion by 1955. Within the Baltimore Beltway, Interstate 83 opened from Interstate 695 south to Guilford Avenue by 1963, southward to Monument Street in the 1970s, and to Pleasant Street by 1983. The current southern terminus of Interstate 83 opened by 1990.3

Future Aspirations

The northern end of Interstate 83 may change as a result of continuing upgrades to the U.S. 11-15 and U.S. 22-322 corridors north of Harrisburg. If built to Interstate standards, either of those corridors may receive the Interstate 83 designation. Since U.S. 15 north of Interstate 180 is part of the Interstate 99 corridor, it seems unlikely that Interstate 83 will be extended to New York State; however, some in Rochester would prefer that Interstate 390 be numbered as part of Interstate 83 rather than Interstate 99. Interstate 83 is preferred because Rochester would rather connect to a major city such as Baltimore rather than a smaller city such as Altoona or Bedford. The possibility of extending Interstate 83 rather than Interstate 99 to Rochester was a subject of discussion at the October 2002 Interstate 99 Task Force meeting, but nothing concrete came from that meeting. Of course, whether Interstate 83 is extended remains to be seen, as the whole corridor of U.S. 11/15 is not currently slated to be full freeway.

Highway Guides

Southern Terminus - Baltimore, Maryland - Downtown
Perspective from Interstate 83 south
"Expressway Ends - 2 Miles" overhead placed on Interstate 83 southbound at Exit 3/Guilford Avenue. Vidcap taken by Alex Nitzman/Cary B. Todd (10/16/93).
Pleasant Street/Exit 2, departs from Interstate 83 southbound, as the downtown skyline graces the horizon. The pentagonal high-rise behind the Pleasant Street guide sign is that of the Baltimore World Trade Center.1 The building is located within the Inner Harbor area of the city, and features an observation deck on the top floor. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
A closer view of the sign bridge Pictured in the above photobox. Interstate 83 curves towards the southeast before its terminus. Originally the highway was to make an eastward turn from roughly this point to Interstate 95. Guide signage is also posted for the world-renown John Hopkins Medical Campus for the south end of the freeway. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
Fayette Street/Exit 1 overhead guide signage on Interstate 83 southbound. This is the last exit of the freeway. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
Last southbound Interstate 83 reassurance shield. Note that the faded shield still contains the state name of Maryland. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
The last mile of the expressway is very windy, a compromise necessitated by the restructured terminus to coincide with President Street. Speed limits drop from 40 to 35 MPH rapidly. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
Last "exit" of Interstate 83 south. Actually, this is a right-turning lane to Fayette St. westbound, serving the downtown area. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
This signalized intersection with Fayette Street represents the southern terminus of Interstate 83. Traffic continuing straight enters President Street, a short alignment that dead-ends at the Inner Harbor not far from this crossing. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
Perspective from President Street north
Fleet Street westbound at the beginning of President Street northbound. The Inner Harbor tourist district is straight ahead while Interstate 83 is nine blocks to the right. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
President Street northbound meets Eastern Avenue at this intersection. Eastern Avenue follows roughly the planned path of Interstate 83 from President Street to Interstate 95. Otherwise Interstate 83 begins eight blocks to the north of this turn. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
Lombard Street westbound next approaches President Street, two blocks south of Fayette Street and Interstate 83. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
Northbound on President Street at Baltimore Street, one block south of Fayette Street and Interstate 83. The building to the right is Shot Tower. Photos taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02) and Andy Field (06/02/03).
One block further north, President Street meets Fayette Street. Motorists are offered a choice between Interstate 83 (Jones Falls Expressway) or The Fallsway, a virtual frontage road below the Interstate 83 viaduct that ultimately becomes Maryland 25. Another access ramp to Interstate 83 northbound is available from The Fallways just a few short blocks to the north. Photos taken by Tim Reichard (09/14/02) and Chris Elbert (07/06).
Perspective from Interstate 83 north
The northbound beginning of Interstate 83, the Jones Falls Expressways. Baltimore residents refer to Interstate 83 within the Beltway as simply "The JFX". The photograph shows a guide sign for Interstate 83, posted just past the President Street transition to Interstate 83 at Fayette Street (see above photograph). The exit numbers for Interstate 83 within the city limits of Baltimore do not coincide with the actual mileage. It is believed that the numbering system is still sequentially based, as was the original standard for all Maryland Interstate highways until the late 1980s. Note the addition of a blue Interstate Highway System trailblazer to the overhead sign. Photos taken by Chris Elbert (07/06) and Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
First northbound Interstate 83 reassurance shield, posted midway between Fayette Street and Chase Street. The on-ramp from below brings traffic onto the freeway from Gay Street. Northbound traffic can access the city street via The Fallways. Chase Street, the first northbound off-ramp, is still several blocks to the north. The viaduct in the background is that of U.S. 40 (Orleans Street Viaduct). Photos taken by Andy Field (06/02/03) and Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
The northern reaches of the Baltimore skyline still dominate the horizon as Interstate 83 begins. The city is home to 651,154 residents while an additional 754,292 Marylanders call Baltimore County home. This reassurance shield is posted shortly after the last one. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Northern Terminus - Interstate 81 - Colonial Park, Pennsylvania
Perspective from Interstate 83 north
Interstate 81/Exit 51A/B advance guide signage, posted at the U.S. 22/Exits 50A/B cloverleaf interchange on Interstate 83 north. The control points of Interstate 81 reflect a PENNDOT convention of in-state control cities. Carlisle is a southwest suburb of Harrisburg while Hazelton rests just south of the Interstate 80/81 junction. This same kind of concept can be found throughout the Interstate 80 routing within the Commonwealth. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (08/19/02).
Interstate 81/U.S. 322 and Interstate 78 overheads on Interstate 83 northbound approaching the northern end. This is the only remaining panel that includes Interstate 78 on Interstate 81 northbound. The east-west corridor links the Harrisburg metro area with Allentown-Bethelem, and ultimately New York City. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (7/00).
Approaching the northern terminus of Interstate 83, with U.S. 322 directional signage to the left, and a portable construction variable message sign to the right. Construction at this interchange is in conjunction with a resurfacing project associated with Interstate 81 in the northern Harrisburg area. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman/Andy Field (10/01).
The end of Interstate 83 at Interstate 81 as seen from Interstate 83 Northbound. U.S. 322 continues westward along Interstate 81 south three miles. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman/Andy Field (10/01).
Focusing on the Interstate 81/Exit 51 overheads on Interstate 83 north at the terminus. The control city of Allentown comes into play due to the connection with nearby Interstate 78 (situated 19 miles to the east). Lewiston is the western control point for U.S. 322 (and U.S. 22), well northwest of the city. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (08/19/02).
Interstate 81/83 stack interchange as seen from the northbound Interstate 83 to southbound Interstate 81 ramp. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman/Andy Field (10/01).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 83 north
Interstate 695
overlap begin
10 miles at Brooklandville, MD
Interstate 695
overlap begin
12 miles at Lutherville-Timonium, MD
Interstate 76 75 miles near New Cumberland, PA
Perspective from Interstate 81 north
Amid reconstruction, Interstate 81 northbound plods along towards the southbound beginning of Interstate 83. U.S. 322 is along for the ride at this point, but parts ways with Interstate 81 southward with Interstate 83. The Progress Avenue off-ramp is closed from Interstate 81 north/U.S. 322 east. Top photo taken by Tim Reichard (08/19/02); bottom photo taken by Dan Moraseski (09/02/02).
The damaged right-panel contains the control cites of Hershey and York for Interstate 83 south/U.S. 322 east. Although neither sign reflects it in these photographs, this tri-level stack interchange is Exit 70 for Interstate 81. Top photo taken by Tim Reichard (08/19/02); bottom photo taken by Dan Moraseski (09/02/02).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 81 north
Interstate 78 19 miles near Lickdale, PA
Interstate 80 81 miles near Saint Johns, PA
Interstate 476 105 miles at Dupont, PA
Perspective from Interstate 81 south
Southbound Interstate 81 at Interstate 83's northern terminus. The city of York is 30 miles to the south of this point. Photo taken by Tim Reichard (08/19/02).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 81 south
Interstate 76 18 miles at Middlesex, PA
Interstate 70 78 miles at Hagerstown, MD
Interstate 66 132 miles at Middletown, VA

Sources:

  1. Inlow, Mike. Personal Email, AARoads feedback: I-83 in Baltimore. Baltimore's World Trade Center is the tallest pentagonal building in the world with 32 stories.
  2. Pennsylvania Highways: Interstate 83.
  3. MDRoads: I-83.
  4. Pennsylvania Highways:  Interstate 83 Business Routes.

Page Updated April 8, 2007.

 
Mileage

State Maryland
Mileage 34.50
Cities Baltimore
Junctions Interstate 695
State Pennsylvania
Mileage 50.80
Cities York, Harrisburg
Junctions Interstate 76, Interstate 283, Interstate 81
TOTAL 85.30
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 83 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Maryland Baltimore City 120,175 2002
Maryland Riderwood 216,675 2002
Maryland Maryland Line 37,175 2002
Pennsylvania Shrewsbury 27,000 2002
Pennsylvania York 60,000 2002
Pennsylvania Harrisburg 108,000 2002
Source: 2002 AADTS Report (Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Highway Information Services Division)
Pennsylvania Traffic Volumes 2002 (Penndot)
Complete Interstate 83 data.

 
Northbound Interstate 83 at the split with the York, Pennsylvania Business loop (Exit 15). Photo taken 06/21/12.
The interchange between Interstate 83 and Business Loop I-83 was reconstructed as part of a $58 million project between 2003 and December 6, 2006 to provide full movements between the two expressways and eliminate the left-hand ramp of Exit 15.4
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