The Eastern Interstate 84 follows the U.S. 6 corridor between Scranton, Pennsylvania and Hartford, Connecticut and the Wilbur Cross Highway northeast from U.S. 6 to Interstate 90 (Mass Pike) at Sturbridge, Massachusetts. It is a well traveled route, providing part of an long distance alternate between Pennsylvania (via I-81) and New England (via the Mass Pike).
I-84 traverses a generally hilly route, including the Poconos in Pennsylvania, the historic Hudson Valley and the foothills of Connecticut. It also makes part of an outer loop of New York City via I-684 and I-287 and is a major thoroughfare for Connecticut-based commuters.
Interstate 84 combines with Interstate 380 for 4.2 miles from their mutual beginning at Interstate 81 at Dunmore, Pennsylvania. Original plans called for Interstate 84 to cut across the Moosic Mountains to meet up with I-81 at Moosic. Cancellation of the freeway south of Lake Scranton due to engineering difficulties with traversing the mountains led to the realignment of I-84 westward along side I-380 to Dunmore.1
I-81E was redesignated as I-380 by AASHTO on June 20, 1972. The same meeting also extended I-84 west along an overlap with new I-380 to the current terminus at Interstate 81 in Scranton. The freeway within the Keystone State was completed in 1978, with opening of I-84 between I-380 and PA 247 at Mount Cobb.1
As originally designated, Interstate 84 was to run from the Hartford, Connecticut area to Sturbridge, Massachusetts. This course was altered in 1969 (approved by AASHTO on June 23 of that year), with I-84 redirected east from Hartford, Connecticut to Providence, Rhode Island along the Manchester and Willimantic bypasses, both under construction by 1968. I-84 northeast from Manchester to Sturbridge in turn was established as Interstate 86.
I-84 was planned to continue east along the U.S. 6 corridor from Hartford to Providence, connecting to either U.S. 6 (formerly Rhode Island 195) or Rhode Island 37 at Interstate 295 in the Ocean State. The Manchester bypass was completed in 1971 and the Willimantic bypass opened in 1973 with both signed as I-84. The remainder of the route was never built due to environmental concerns surrounding Nathan Hale State Forest in Connecticut and Scituate Reservoir in Rhode Island.2 This ultimately led to the cancellation of I-84 between the Willimantic Bypass and I-295 / R.I. 195 at Johnston.
Interstate 84 was officially eliminated by AASHTO within the state of Rhode Island on October 1, 1983. The following meeting on May 23, 1984 saw AASHTO approve the redesignation of Interstate 86 as Interstate 84 from East Hartford, Connecticut to Sturbridge, Massachusetts, the establishment of Interstate 384 along former I-84 from East Hartford to U.S. 6 in Bolton Notch, Connecticut, and the replacement of I-84 along the Willimantic Bypass with U.S. 6.
Parallel/Historic U.S. Routes
Interstates 84 & 380 replaced U.S. 611 southeast from Dunmore to their split near Elmhurst. East from Milford, Pennsylvania, I-84 parallels or overlays U.S. 6 through to Hartford, Connecticut. It also intertwines with U.S. 202 between Brewster, New York and Danbury, Connecticut while briefly overlapping with U.S. 7. Further east between Downtown Hartford and Manchester, U.S. 44 travels nearby as well.
Perspective from Interstate 84 west/Interstate 380 north
This guide signage, newly installed at the time of this video capture, was the first to show that U.S. 6 overlaps with Interstate 81 between Exits 187 and 191. Before the U.S. 6 Carbondale freeway was built, the US route followed Roosevelt Highway (Business U.S. 6) from Exit 191 northward. Vidcap taken 10/98.
Westbound Interstate 84 and northbound Interstate 380 reach Exit 1, Tigue Street. The next exit is the junction with Interstate 81 north to Binghamton and south to Harrisburg. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Interstate 84 west/380 north at the departure of the eastbound off-ramp to the U.S. 6 Carbondale freeway. The paired Interstates descend from the Moosic Mountains, home to Lake Scranton, to the city itself at this point. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Scranton Exits guide sign on Interstate 84 west/380 north for the pending terminus interchange with Interstate 81. Interstate 81 passes downtown Scranton to the east and north. The city itself is home to the University of Scranton, Marywood University, and the Steamtown National Historic Site among other points of interest. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Interstate 84 and 380 saw expansion and redesign as part of the massive construction project associated with the U.S. 6 Carbondale freeway. The freeway now carries six lanes between Exit 2 and Interstate 81. Thus this sign bridge shows that two lanes are available for traffic to both directions of Interstate 81. This is the final sign in sequence; there is no END shield for Interstate 84 or for Interstate 380. Photo taken by Douglas Kerr (07/00).
Historic View: While the interchange project was still in the preliminary phases, these button copy guide signs for Interstate 81 faced Interstate 84 west and Interstate 380 north. Vidcap taken 09/93.
Perspective from Interstate 84 east/Interstate 380 south
Now traveling south on Interstate 380 and east on Interstate 84, the freeway features three through lanes until the routes divide. The first exit is Exit 1, Tigue Street (using the exit numbers for Interstate 84). Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Interstate 84 east/380 southbound as they depart on their journey from Interstate 81. The freeway initially carries three lanes, losing one to the Pennsylvania 435 southbound off-ramp (Exit 2). The state route is a four-lane expressway to Elmhurst (no access to Interstate 84 east of the split). Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
A couple of miles southeast of there, Interstate 84 and Interstate 380 prepare to split. These old button copy signs are among the last ones still on Interstate 380. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
The right two lanes continue south on Interstate 380 to the Poconos and eventually Interstate 80, which travels east to New York City. The left lane will follow Interstate 84 east to Milford, then cross the Delaware River and serve Port Jervis in New York. From there, Interstate 84 will continue east toward Hartford, Connecticut. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Interstate 84 east and Interstate 380 south divide; check out all of the trucks connecting to Interstate 84 east. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Perspective from Interstate 81 south
Interstate 81 southbound and U.S. 6 eastbound approximately two miles prior to the split with U.S. 6 and western terminus of Interstate 84 and northern terminus of Interstate 380. Throughout northern Scranton, Interstate 81 saw expansion and modernization in conjunction with the U.S. 6 Carbondale freeway project. This has resulted in higher speed limits and a smooth concrete surface. Photo taken 07/04/05.
Interstate 81 southbound, one mile out from the split with U.S. 6 and western terminus of Interstate 84. Throughout northern Scranton, Interstate 81 saw expansion and modernization in conjunction with the U.S. 6 Carbondale freeway project. This has resulted in higher speed limits and a smooth concrete surface. Photo taken 07/04/05.
This section of Interstate 81 was reconstructed during the early 2000s. As a result, the freeway is concrete and features a collector-distributor lane design at the interchange with Pennsylvania 347. Photo taken 07/04/05.
Interstate 81 as it turns back to the southwest at the Interstate 84/380/U.S. 6 stack interchange. The next southbound exit is that of Exit 185, the decrepit Central Scranton Expressway. The city of Wilkes-Barre is another 17 miles to the south. Photo taken 07/04/05.
Passing under Reeves Street and now on the transition ramp from Interstate 81 south to Interstate 84 east and Interstate 380 south, the left two lanes will connect to Interstate 84-380 and U.S. 6. The right lane connects back to Interstate 81 (as this is a collector-distributor arrangement for local traffic). Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Through traffic to Interstate 81 departs to the right, while the left two lanes connect to Interstate 84 east, Interstate 380 south, and U.S. 6 northeast. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Perspective from Interstate 81 north
Now traveling north on Interstate 81, this diagrammatic sign is the first advance sign for the split between Interstate 81 north (to U.S. 6 west) and three routes emanating from Scranton: Interstate 84 east to Port Jervis, Interstate 380 south to the Poconos (and Interstate 80 east to New York City), and U.S. 6 east to Carbondale. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Another diagrammatic sign is posted for the split between Interstate 81 north (to U.S. 6 west) and Interstate 84 east to Port Jervis, Interstate 380 south to the Poconos (and Interstate 80 east to New York City), and U.S. 6 east to Carbondale. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
After the split with Interstate 81 and Interstate 84-380, the next two exits along northbound Interstate 81 are Exit 186, Drinker Street to Dunmore and Exit 188, Junction Pennsylvania 347 to Dunmore and Throop. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
The left two lanes connect to Interstate 81 north and U.S. 6 west, while the right three lanes connect to U.S. 6 east and Interstate 84 east/Interstate 380 south. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Continuing north, the routes divide. Interstate 81 continues north to Clarks Summit and Binghamton, New York, while U.S. 6 east and Interstate 84-380 split here. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Now on the transition ramp, the left lane connects to U.S. 6 east to Carbondale, while the right two lanes connect to Interstate 84 east and Interstate 380 south. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
This view shows Interstate 81's mainline as it passes through the reconstructed interchange after the ramps to Interstate 84, U.S. 6, and Interstate 380 depart. Interstate 81 was widened through this stretch. Interstate 81 curves to the northwest as Interstate 84 and 380 merge in the background. Photo taken 07/01/05.
Historical View: Well before the U.S. 6 freeway to Carbondale was introduced to the Interstate 81/84/380 confluence, the three interstates came together in a simple tri-level stack interchange. This video capture shows the northbound Interstate 81 perspective at the interchange before even one shovel of earth was turned. The interchange reconstruction project snarled traffic throughout the mid to late 1990s. Vidcap taken 04/94.
Perspective from Interstate 84 frontage road westbound
The city of Scranton is set in a valley between Bald Mountain and the Poconos. This photograph, taken from a nearby frontage road, shows Interstate 84 and 380 as they enter the rebuilt Interstate 81/U.S. 6 stack interchange. The setting sun and dissipating afternoon thunderstorms set the tone for the paired Interstates to come to an end. Photo taken 07/00.
Eastern Terminus - Interstate 90 - near Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Perspective from Interstate 84 east
End advisory sign posted for the eastern terminus of Interstate 84 at junction Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike). Traffic not departing the freeway for U.S. 20 (Exits 3A/B) defaults onto the toll road in 1.50 miles. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Eastbound at the ramp departure of Exit 3A onto U.S. 20 (Charlton Road) eastbound. U.S. 20 provides an alternate route to the city of Worcester in lieu of the Mass Pike. The US highway meets Interstates 290 & 395 12 miles to the east at Auburn. Interstate 290 migrates north from there into downtown Worcester. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Exit 3B loops onto U.S. 20 westbound for Main Street in Sturbridge. U.S. 20 continues west from Massachusetts 131 two miles to Fiskdale (junction Massachusetts 148), five miles to Brimfield (junction Massachusetts 19), and nine miles to Feltonville (junction Massachusetts 67). Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 84 partitions into ramps for Interstate 90 east to Boston, New Hampshire, and Maine and Interstate 90 west to Springfield and Albany, New York. The Mass Pike next meets Interstates 290 & 395 12 miles to the east near Worcester. Photo taken 08/09/04.
Interstate 84 draws to a close at the trumpet interchange with Interstate 90 (Mass Pike). For westbound travelers, a 30-mile drive carries motorists to Springfield. Photo taken 08/09/04.
A look at the original button copy guide signs at the eastern end of Interstate 84. Note the older style MassPike Hat and the Interstate 495 / Massachusetts 128 auxiliary guide sign. Originally the stretch of Interstate 84 between Hartford and Sturbridge was signed as Interstate 86. This photograph may have occurred in the final years of Interstate 86 and thus may represent a true historic eastern terminus image. Photo taken by Michael Summa (1976).
Perspective from Interstate 90 east
One-half mile guide sign on Interstate 90/Massachusetts Turnpike for Exit 9/Interstate 84 west. Two control cities are featured, one being Hartford, Connecticut. The other point used is Sturbridge, a town adjacent to the Interstate 84 interchange with U.S. 20 two miles to the south. Standard on many turnpike facilities, the distance to the next exit is also featured. Photo taken by Steve West.
Perspective from Interstate 90 west
The first sign for Interstate 84 west (Exit 9) posted on Interstate 90 / Massachusetts Turnpike westbound. Interstate 84 features New York City as a control point in addition to Hartford. In an interesting sidebar, Interstate 81 sees signage at the western terminus of Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania advising traffic to New England to remain on I-81 north to Interstate 84 east in lieu of I-78. Photo taken by Greg Goldman (07/29/05).
The Mass Pike expands to three lanes in anticipation of the Exit 9 trumpet interchange with Interstate 84 west. Interstate 84 cross paths nearby with U.S. 20 (Charlton Road / Main Street) at the town of Sturbridge U.S. 20 parallels Interstate 90 from Boston west to Pittsfield in Massachusetts. The federal highway meets Interstate 84 between Charlton City and Fiskdale. Photo taken by Greg Goldman (07/29/05).
Massachusetts 49 crosses over Interstate 90 / Mass Pike ahead of the split with Interstate 84 west. Interstate 84 follows the Wilbur Cross Highway southwest nine miles to the Connecticut state line on the 44-mile drive to Hartford. Traveler interests to New York City can use a multitude of routes between Interstate 84 and Interstate 95 including Interstate 91, Connecticut 8, U.S. 7, and Interstate 684. Photo taken by Greg Goldman (07/29/05).
The westbound beginning of Interstate 84 departs Interstate 90 / Mass Pike west via Exit 9. Interstate 84 travels southwest to Hartford, Waterbury, and Danbury, Connecticut. Interstate 90 continues west 27 miles to junction Interstate 291 at Chicopee and Springfield, and 110 miles to junction Interstate 787 at Albany. Photo taken by Greg Goldman (07/29/05).
Interstate 84 opened initially in Pennsylvania as a short freeway spur from I-81 to Tigue Street in Dunmore in 1961. The next section to open was the Delaware River bridge in 1970.1
Eastern Connecticut - 1972.
Interstate 84 was proposed to run east from Hartford to Providence between 1969 and 1984. The lone two portions of freeway built were the Manchester and Willimantic bypasses. The route was to also use the Connecticut Turnpike spur (CT 695) east from CT 52 to U.S. 6 at South Killingly.