Interstate 276 Pennsylvania

Interstate 276 east at the Norristown interchange with Germantown Pike and I-476 south. The Northeast Extension (I-476) stems north from an unnumbered exit nearby. Photo taken 12/19/16.

Routing

Interstate 276 extends the Pennsylvania Turnpike east from Valley Forge (I-76) to Norristown, Valley Forge and Bristol. Originally known as the Delaware River Extension, the toll road serves both through traffic east to the New Jersey Turnpike and west to Harrisburg, and commuters across the north Philadelphia suburbs.

Speed limits are posted at 70 miles per hour along the entire length of I-276, with the exception of at the main line toll plaza east of Exit 352 (PA 132) and through the long term construction zone between Bensalem and Bristol. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is six lanes wide from the split with Interstate 76 east to the Bensalem interchange (Exit 351) with U.S. 1, with future expansion underway or slated through to the Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridge.

I-276 presently ends at the Pennsylvania-New Jersey state line over the Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridge. Signs further east along the New Jersey Turnpike mainline reference I-276, though the Pearl Harbor Memorial Turnpike Extension west to Pennsylvania is currently not an Interstate highway. That will change with the realignment of Interstate 95 onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike east from Bristol Township.

PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange

The PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange Project links Interstate 95 with the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276). Programmed construction also widens I-276 west to Trevose, I-276 east to Bristol, and I-95 south to Neshaminy Creek. Two flyover ramps at the future high speed interchange are expected to open sometime in 2017 as the new mainline of Interstate 95, at which time the following Interstate highway renumbering will take place:

  • Interstate 276 will be formally truncated west to the partial interchange with I-95.
  • Interstate 276 east from I-95 to the Delaware River Bridge and the unnumbered New Jersey Turnpike Extension will become part of the new Interstate 95 mainline. I-95 will overtake the remainder of the Turnpike north from there.
  • Interstate 95 north from I-276 to the Trenton Beltline and I-195 will become part of an extended Interstate 295 from New Jersey.

The missing connection between I-95 and I-276 dates back to 1969, when Interstate 95 was completed through Bucks County. An interchange could not be constructed at that time due to federal regulations prohibiting the use of federal funds for directly connecting an Interstate highway with a toll road. Separate studies in 1975-77 and 1984-88 advanced the notion of joining the two routes, but obstructions due to engineering and environmental issues prevented construction from progressing. A subsequent environmental impact study, emphasizing minimal impacts to socioeconomic and environmental resources, was completed in 2003. Design work followed from 2004 to 2008.4

Construction (Section S1) on the Turnpike / I-95 Interchange Project kicked off on October 25, 2010 with bridge work at the Bristol Oxford Valley Road overpass. Ensuing work on November 10, 2010 also replaced the Galloway Road overpass further west by a new mainline toll plaza. Complete by November 2011, both spans were replaced to accommodate a wider footprint for the Pennsylvania Turnpike.5

The Richlieu Road overpass at milepost 352.4 was also replaced during construction (Section S2) between late March 2012 and November 2013. Replacing of the Bensalem Boulevard bridge at milepost 355.1 (Section A1) also accommodates the new travel lanes of I-276. Work there was underway from early March 2015 to November 20, 2015.5

Section B of the project constructed a new 12-lane toll plaza with high speed E-ZPass lanes between the Richlieu and Galloway Road overpasses at milepost 352.6. The June 2013 to summer 2016 work in Bensalem Township coincided with the fall 2015 conversion of the plaza at the Delaware River Bridge at milepost 358 to all electronic tolling (AET), and the removal of the Bristol toll plaza for U.S. 13.6

Bids for Section D10 were taken starting on June 5, 2014. The three-year project widens 2.5 miles of the Pennsylvania Turnpike east from I-95 to milepost 358 and involves pile driving and pier support work for the future Interstate 95 northbound flyover. Costing $142 million, work involves seven bridges and various retaining walls, noise walls and culverts.6 Running in tandem through 2017 is Section D20 construction for the flyover from I-276 westbound to I-95 south and bridge superstructure work for the Interstate 95 northbound flyover.5

Interchange work (Section A1) along Interstate 276 at the Bensalem interchange with U.S. 1 runs from August 2016 to May 2019. Among other changes involving lighting and drainage, existing bridges over the turnpike mainline will be rebuilt, the westbound on-ramp will be realigned and a future eastbound off-ramp will be constructed.5

The Delaware Valley interchange will be redesigned to eliminate the trumpet interchange with U.S. 13. A signalized intersection will facilitate movements between Bristol Pike and the Pennsylvania Turnpike access road. Construction on the Route 13 Connector starts in 2017.

Early 2017 construction is also underway to replace the Hulmeville Road (PA 513) overpass. This work accommodates future expansion of I-276 to six lanes (Section C), which will commence once funding is identified.5

Long term construction for the PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange includes the following:

  • Section A - Widening and reconstruction of I-276 from west of Pennsylvania 132 (Street Road) to Richlieu Road. This work follows completion of the Bensalem interchange construction at U.S. 1.
  • Section E - Expansion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike westbound to three lanes from the Delaware River Bridge toll plaza to the new flyover for Interstate 95 south. Reconstruction will also take place for the eastbound on-ramp and westbound ramps at the Delaware Valley interchange.
  • Section D30/D40 - Adds the remainder of the ramps between Interstates 95, 276 and 295, replaces the turnpike bridge over Neshaminy Creek and expands I-295 north.
  • Parallel Delaware River Bridge - This will be a part of Interstate 95 when construction starts in 2025 or later on a new span to be added to the south of the existing steel arch bridge. Upon completion, the old bridge will closed for rehabilitation and eventually reopened for westbound traffic.

The full build out of the I-95 / PA Turnpike Interchange

History

The Delaware River Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was built over a two year period, with ground breaking on November 20, 1952. $65 million in bonds issued by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission funded construction, which wrapped up on November 17, 1954. The Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridge, which was a joint project between Pennsylvania and New Jersey, broke ground on June 22, 1954. Costing $27.2 million, the arched steel truss bridge opened to traffic on May 23, 1956.1

With the establishment of the Interstate system, the Pennsylvania Turnpike mainline received the designation of Interstate 80S west from Valley Forge and Interstate 280 east from Valley Forge. These routes were not posted in the field, and by 1964, I-80S east from Monroeville to Camden was renumbered as Interstate 76. All branch routes for I-80S east were renumbered as well, with I-280 along the Delaware River Extension changed to Interstate 276.

Expansion of Interstate 276 to six lanes between Valley Forge (milepost 326) and Norristown (milepost 333) commenced in 1998 with a $35.6 million project to replace the Schuylkill River Bridge. The overall project was finished by November 21, 2008.2

Two partial access E-ZPass only exits were added to Interstate 276. The westbound exit to Virginia Dive in Upper Dublin Township opened to traffic in December 2000. It was followed by the opening of a new eastbound exit to Street Road (PA 132) in Bucks County on November 22, 2010. The Bensalem Township interchange (Exit 352) cost $7.4 million, with work started in May 2009.3

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 76 - King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
Perspective from Interstate 276 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) west
The two mile sign for Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway) and Valley Forge interchange (Exit 326) stands at the King of Prussia Service Plaza along Interstate 276 west. Photo taken 12/21/16.
Passing north of King of Prussia Mall and south of an area of industrial and office parks, the Pennsylvania Turnpike maintains six overall lanes through to the merge with I-76 west. Beyond Interstate 276, the toll road drops to four lanes. Photo taken 12/21/16.
A two lane off-ramp (Exit 326) departs for Interstate 76 as it follows the narrow and congested Schuylkill Expressway southeast to center city in Philadelphia. Adjacent ramps connect the freeway with Gulph Road to King of Prussia Mall and Valley Forge. Photo taken 12/21/16.
Interstate 76 west overtakes the remainder of the Pennsylvania Turnpike mainline through to Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and the Ohio Turnpike gateway near Youngstown. US. 202 parallels the toll road to the south along a freeway stemming west from King of Prussia to Paoli, Malvern and Frazer en route to West Chester. Photo taken 12/21/16.
Historic Perspective from Interstate 276 west
See the Interstate 276 guide at AARoads for photos showing the Pennsylvania Turnpike in 2004. Then the turnpike was still four lanes wide as it traveled west to the Valley Forge Interchange and signs for Exit 326 still referenced I-476.
Perspective from Interstate 76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) east
The first guide sign for the Valley Forge interchange appears west of the PA 252 (Valley Forge Road) overpass and Valley Forge Service Plaza. Signs for Exit 326 omit Interstate 276 in favor of I-476, which alludes to the indirect connection made with the Mid-County Expressway at Plymouth Meeting prior to 1992. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (06/24/08).
Interstate 76 splits with the Pennsylvania Turnpike in one mile to join the Schuylkill Expressway southeast to Conshohocken and Philadelphia. Connections with U.S. 202 nearby lead motorists to King of Prussia Mall, Valley Forge National Park (via U.S. 422 west), and the U.S. 202 freeway southwest to West Chester Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (06/24/08).
Interstate 276 begins as I-76 turns southeast from the Pennsylvania Turnpike toward Gulph Mills and Conshohocken.
I-276 appears here now, but previously the pull through panel at Exit 326 inexplicably featured a New Jersey Turnpike trailblazer. The PA Turnpike otherwise extends another 32.8 miles to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Turnpike Extension in New Jersey. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (06/24/08).
Perspective from Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway) west
Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway) enters a full cloverleaf interchange with U.S. 202 just ahead of the toll plaza for the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276). A five-year project reconstructed the exchange with the U.S. 202 freeway to further eliminate weaving traffic by separating movements from I-76 west to the nearby beginning of U.S. 422. Photo taken 12/19/16.
The Schuylkill Expressway mainline bypasses all ramps with U.S. 202 (Exits 328B/A) to lead directly to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Completed in October 2003, the interchange upgrade for U.S. 202 added overpasses for the loop ramps along the I-76 westbound c/d roadway and new distributor roadways along U.S. 202 between U.S. 422 and the Schuylkill Expressway. Photo taken 12/19/16.
The collector-distributor lanes return to Interstate 76 after the right in right out ramps (Exit 327) for King of Prussia Mall. Traffic slows beyond the merge into a six-lane toll plaza preceding the trumpet interchange with Interstate 276 east. Photo taken 12/19/16.
Two lane ramps partition for the continuation of I-76 west to Harrisburg and Interstate 276 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) east to the Northeast Extension (I-476) at Plymouth Meeting, Fort Washington, Willow Grove, Northeast Philadelphia and Bristol. Photo taken 12/19/16.
Historic Perspective from Interstate 76 west
Interstate 76 (Schuylkill Expressway) west at the c/d roadway for Exits 328B-A and 327 during 1998-03 construction at U.S. 202. With the change to the ramps with U.S. 202, the addition of the Norfolk Southern Railroad truss bridge, and the demolition of an adjacent industrial business, the look of this area changed dramatically. Photo taken 10/11/01.
Exit 328A previously departed from the c/d roadway as it separated from Interstate 76 west. This movement is now located further from the freeway mainline.
The loop ramp from U.S. 202 north here was later elevated to pass over the c/d roadway and merge from the left instead of the right to reduce weaving. Photo taken 10/11/01.
Construction underway in 2008 expanded I-76 west to four lanes through to the trumpet interchange with Interstate 276 (Pennsylvania Turnpike). This sign bridge, including an overhead with a partially covered PA 9 shield, was eventually replaced with a monotube assembly. Photo taken 08/30/05.
Eastern Terminus - Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridge - Bristol, Pennsylvania
Perspective from Interstate 276 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) east
Interstate 276 passes under the Interstate 95 mainline on the two mile approach to the Delaware Valley interchange (Exit 358) with U.S. 13. The full build out of the new interchange between the two routes will provide full access with four flyovers. Photo taken 12/19/16.
Pier supports will eventually support the flyovers carrying Interstate 95 north onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike mainline and south from the toll road to Philadelphia. Traffic along I-276 east will merge with the high speed ramp from the right-hand side. Photo taken 12/19/16.
A portion of the bridge deck for the southbound flyover for I-95 takes shape beside Mill Creek. Interstate 276 will end here when the new ramps open sometime in 2017. Photo taken 12/19/16.
Construction through 2017 expands the Pennsylvania Turnpike east through to a realigned off-ramp (Exit 358) for U.S. 13 (Bristol Pike). Photo taken 12/19/16.
Mileposts for the Pennsylvania Turnpike extend east to the state line, which lies midway across the Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridge. These will change to reflect the distance to Delaware along I-95. Photo taken 12/19/16.
The Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridge spans the river between Edgely, Pennsylvania and Florence, New Jersey. Rising to 135 feet above the level of the river, the continuous truss bridge connects I-276 with the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension of the NJ Turnpike east to Mansfield Township. Photo taken 08/30/05.
A set of 359.0 mileposts for the Pennsylvania Turnpike stand by the unmarked New Jersey state line as I-276 ends. Photos taken 12/19/16.
Historic Perspective from Interstate 276 (Pennsylvania Turnpike) east
Entering the original trumpet interchange (Exit 358) with the turnpike access road for U.S. 13. The forthcoming toll plaza was demolished by 2015 while the eastbound ramp at Exit 358 was shifted westward in 2016.
U.S. 13 otherwise parallels I-95 south toward Philadelphia. Northward from the turnpike access road, U.S. 13 ends in 6.4 miles at U.S. 1 by Fallingston and Morrisville. Photo taken 08/30/05.
Previously the Delaware River Bridge toll plaza marked the end of the ticketed Pennsylvania Turnpike system. Tolls are no longer collected in the eastbound direction here while cashless tolling commenced on January 3, 2016 for westbound at a new AET collection point. Photo taken 08/30/05.
Interstate 95 (Pearl Harbor Memorial Turnpike Extension) south
Traveling west from the ramps with U.S. 130 through Florence Township, the Pearl Harbor Memorial Turnpike Extension approaches the arched continuous truss bridge spanning the Delaware River. Built between 1954 and 1956, the span carries four lanes of traffic along a 74.5 foot wide deck.7 Photo taken 03/23/04.
Interstate 276 begins midway across the 6,571 foot long Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridge at the Pennsylvania state line.7 Photo taken 03/23/04.

Sources:

  1. Pennsylvania Highways: Interstate 276.
  2. Six Lane Widening Project, www.sixlanewidening.com/ PennDOT, project web site.
  3. "New Pa. Turnpike 'E-ZPass-Only' Interchange Opens in Bucks County." Pennsylvania Turnpike, press release. November 22, 2010.
  4. Project Overview, PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange Project web site.
  5. Construction, PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange Project web site.
  6. Design Advisory Committee (DAC) Meeting #11 and Public Officials Briefing, online document. May 28, 2015.
  7. Bridgehunter.com | Turnpike Connector Bridge

Page Updated January 5, 2017.

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