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Interstate 676 Pennsylvania / New Jersey

 

Central Philadelphia Map - Interstate-Guide

Routing / History

Interstate 676 is one of two Pennsylvania Interstates that do not receive exit numbers, the other being Interstate 579 in downtown Pittsburgh. Although a traffic light exists at the west end of the Ben Franklin Bridge, Interstate 676 is considered a seamless route. Also included in this map is the cancelled routing of the Interstate 695 Cobb Creek Expressway. The planned freeway derives it name from the nearby Cobb Creek, a waterway that represents the southwest extent of the Philadelphia City and County line.

Interstate 676 is a major east-west freeway serving Philadelphia and a major north-south freeway serving Camden. The Vine Street Expressway, as Interstate 676 is known in the City of Brotherly Love, existed in two stages. The segment between the Schuylkill Expressway east to Broad Street was complete by the 1970s. The portion eastward and interchange with Interstate 95 came together much later by the year 1990.

Interstate 676 technically crosses the Benjamin Franklin Bridge with U.S. 30 into Camden, but at-grade intersections between the Vine Street Expressway and the toll bridge prevent an Interstate-standard connection. This is a rare instance of a stoplight on an Interstate highway (Interstate 78 in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Interstate 180 in Cheyenne, Wyoming, represent other examples). Otherwise, U.S. 30 travels along the Vine Street Expressway from the bridge to Interstate 76.

In Camden, New Jersey, Interstate 676 enters from the west on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and serves downtown. The bridge carries a $3 toll in the westbound direction, with an intersecting street coming into play at the toll plaza itself. The Benjamin Franklin Bridge opened to traffic on July 1, 1926;1 it was grandfathered into the Interstate Highway System. The freeway otherwise carries six lanes as it turns southward to its terminus at the Walt Whitman Bridge in south Camden.

It should be noted that the Vine Street Expressway represents the northern portion of the planned downtown Philadelphia belt-system. The loop includes the Schuylkill Expressway to the west, the Delaware Expressway to the east, and the unbuilt South Street Expressway to the south. While the Vine Street Expressway was an arduous construction project due to opposition and mounting costs, the South Street Expressway faced stiffer opposition from neighborhood leaders in the communities along the planned route. This ultimately mounted an insurmountable opposition, and the expressway project was scrapped. The only remnant of it is the ramp to Columbus Boulevard from Interstate 95 northbound. However even this interchange could not escape resistance, and thus the resulting junction is a scaled down version of what was planned.

High Priority Corridor

Interstate 676 is part of High Priority Corridor 64: Camden-Philadelphia Corridors.

Interstate 76 and 676 switch

Interstate 76 and 676 switched paths during the 1960s. Originally Interstate 76 traveled along the Vine Street Expressway alignment into Camden. Interstate 676 followed the Schuylkill Expressway southeast to the Walt Whitman Bridge into Camden, New Jersey. The designations eventually switched to what they are today, most likely due to the fact that the Vine Street Expressway portion was many years away from completion.

Interstate 80S and 680

Predating the Interstate 76 designation in the Philadelphia metropolitan area is Interstate 80S. Interstate 80S traveled the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Youngstown, Ohio to Camden, New Jersey. The existing spurs and loops of Interstate 76 thus carried Interstate 80 numbering conventions. So Interstate 176 was Interstate 180, Interstate 276 was Interstate 280, Interstate 476 was Interstate 480, and Interstate 676 was Interstate 680. Between 1960 and 1964, Interstate 76 later became the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Pittsburgh eastward to Philadelphia, traveling from Interstate 79 in downtown Pittsburgh along the Penn-Lincoln Parkway (current Interstate 376) eastward to the toll road. Interstate 80S composed the segment of the turnpike between Youngstown and the Penn-Lincoln Interchange. Between 1964 and 1968 Interstate 76 was rerouted from Pittsburgh northwest to encompass the rest of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and eastern most portion of the Ohio Turnpike.

Highway Guides

Western Terminus - Interstate 76 - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Perspective from Interstate 676 west
This mileage sign in downtown Philadelphia on westbound Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 (Vine Street Expressway) shows the next three exits: Junction Pennsylvania 611/Broad Street; Ben Franklin Parkway (one mile), and Junction Interstate 76/Schuylkill Expressway (1.50 miles). The left two lanes are transition lanes from Interstate 95, while the right lane is the mainline of Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 after it comes from the Ben Franklin Bridge (after the traffic signal). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/11/05).
For Central Philadelphia, use Junction Pennsylvania 611/Broad Street. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/11/05).
Passing under 13th Street, westbound Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 (Vine Street Expressway) approaches the offramp to Pennsylvania 611/Broad Street. The following two exits are Ben Franklin Parkway (0.75 mile), and Junction Interstate 76/Schuylkill Expressway (one mile). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/11/05).
Westbound Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 (Vine Street Expressway) meets Pennsylvania 611/Broad Street at this off-ramp. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/11/05).
The final two exits from Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 west are Ben Franklin Parkway (one-half mile), and Junction Interstate 76/Schuylkill Expressway (0.75 mile). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/11/05).
Westbound Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 meets Ben Franklin Parkway. The freeway will soon end and transition onto Interstate 76/Schuylkill Expressway (0.75 mile). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/11/05).
Interstate 676 nearing its terminus with the Schuylkill Expressway/Interstate 76. U.S. 30 turns to the north via Interstate 76 to Exit 342 where it departs to Fairmont Park and the western suburbs. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/11/05).
The freeway crosses the Schuylkill River, which is the western boundary of the Philadelphia central business district. The city attraction of "Boathouse Row" is situated along the banks of the river to the north. The right lane connects to Interstate 76 east to the airport, while the left two lanes connect to Interstate 76 west to Valley Forge and the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/11/05).
Interstate 676/U.S. 30 westbound traffic defaults onto Interstate 76 westbound for the Germantown and Roxboro sections of north Philadelphia. Traffic wishing to turn south onto Interstate 76 east must use tight loop ramp to the right. The eastbound Interstate 76 control point is the Philadelphia International Airport (in conjunction with the Pennsylvania 291 Platte Bridge). The freeway also serves South Philadelphia industrial interests and sports complex on South Broad Street (Pennsylvania 611) before crossing into South Jersey. Photo taken by AARoads (10/12/01).
Continuing on the loop ramp to Interstate 76 eastbound is this reassurance shield. The ramp itself sacrifices a shoulder to provide two lanes of travel to the Schuylkill Expressway southbound. In the distance is a sign bridge for 30th and Market Streets/Exit 345. The exit leads to the SEPTA (Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority) 30th Street Station. Photo taken by AARoads (10/12/01).
Perspective from Interstate 76 west
Westbound Interstate 76/Schuylkill Expressway approaches Exit 345, 30th Street followed by Exit 344, Junction Interstate 676 and U.S. 30, Vine Street Expressway. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/30/05).
The right lane becomes exit only for 30th Street, so use the middle lane for the connection to Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 east. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/30/05).
Interstate 76 westbound at 30th Street station. The Schuylkill Expressway travels through the rail station and sees the Exit 344, Junction Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 off-ramp depart in close quarters before emerging from the complex. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/30/05).
Now on a covered section of Interstate 76, the next exit is Exit 344, Junction Interstate 676 and U.S. 30, Vine Street Expressway. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/30/05).
At the end of the covered section, westbound Interstate 76/Schuylkill Expressway reaches Exit 344, Junction Interstate 676 and U.S. 30, Vine Street Expressway. The exit comes quickly but must be taken slowly. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/30/05).
The exit to Exit 344, Junction Interstate 676 and U.S. 30, Vine Street Expressway, is a collector-distributor. Looking from the main lanes of Interstate 76, one can see the signs for Interstate 676 and U.S. 30 east. Continue straight ahead to connect to U.S. 30 west (at Exit 342). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/30/05).
Perspective from Interstate 76 east
Signage along Interstate 76 eastbound for the western terminus of Interstate 676. The interchange is sandwiched between the Schuylkill River and 30th Street station, thus allowing for a left-hand exit. Vidcap taken by Alex Nitzman (12/30/94).
Interruption - Interstate 676 Traffic Light
The path of Interstate 676 from end to end is not completely Interstate standard. This traffic light is located at the western end of the Ben Franklin Bridge. It separates the Vine Street Expressway portion of Interstate 676 from the Benjamin Franklin Bridge/Camden portion of Interstate 676. Heading westbound, one must follow the signs for Westbound Interstate 676, which requires a trip through the traffic light ahead. The viaduct to the right is part of the connector ramps to Interstate 95, the Delaware Expressway. Photo taken by AARoads (10/12/01).
Southern Terminus - Interstate 76 - Camden, New Jersey
Perspective from Interstate 676 south
Southbound Interstate 676 reaches Exit 2, Junction Interstate 76/Walt Whitman Bridge west to Philadelphia. Continue straight ahead for the connection to Interstate 76 east to Interstate 295 and New Jersey 42 en route to Atlantic City. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
The southern terminus of Interstate 676 ties into Interstate 76 eastbound, two miles from Interstate 295 near Bellmawr. The Walt Whitman Bridge and the associated unsigned Interstate 76C (Connector) add to the complexity of the interchange, as the connector route adds ramps to Interstate 76 from U.S. 130 and New Jersey 168 to the east. This photo shows the end Interstate 676/begin Interstate 76 east sign bridge. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Perspective from New Jersey 42 north
Interstate 76 has a local/express configuration between Interstate 295 and Interstate 676. Both sets of lanes connect to Interstate 676. This view is taken on northbound New Jersey 42, which will change into Interstate 76 west after it connects with Interstate 295. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
The left two lanes connect to Interstate 76 west to Interstate 676 and the Walt Whitman Bridge to Pennsylvania, while the right two lanes provide local connections to Interstate 295, U.S. 130, and Interstate 676 prior to rejoining the express lanes on the approach to the Walt Whitman Bridge over the Delaware River. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Northbound New Jersey 42 ends and westbound Interstate 76 begins as the North-South Freeway connects with Interstate 295. This interchange is slated for reconstruction. The right two lanes of the local configuration connect to Interstate 295; the left two lanes continue north toward Interstate 676/downtown Camden. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Perspective from Interstate 76 west
Westbound Interstate 76 reaches Exit 1B, Junction Interstate 295 north to Trenton and New York City. The next exit is the junction with U.S. 130, followed by the Interstate 76/676 split. (The exit numbers increase from south to north on Interstate 76 despite the fact it is signed east-west.) Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
After the U.S. 130 interchange, the express and local lanes collapse back into each other, resulting in six lanes traveling northbound. The left three lanes prepare to split west and cross the Delaware River via the toll Walt Whitman Bridge, then follow Interstate 76 northwest along the Schuylkill Expressway toward Valley Forge. The right three lanes will continue due north toward downtown Camden via Interstate 676, then turn west into downtown Philadelphia via the Ben Franklin Bridge. From here, Philadelphia-bound travelers are advised to cross the river via the Walt Whitman Bridge for Philadelphia destinations. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Interstate 76 westbound sees six lanes of roadway in anticipation of the split with Interstate 676 northbound/Exit 2. This width is a result of a Local/Express configuration that used to grace the roadway of Interstate 76 between the Interstate 295 and New Jersey 42 to this interchange. The Local/Express lanes were merged into one roadway during the late 1990s, allowing for three lanes for each respective Interstate at this gore point. Photo taken by Chris Elbert (07/06).
Perspective from Interstate 676 north
The ramp from the Walt Whitman Bridge to Interstate 76C above, the first northbound Interstate 676 shield. Exits for Collingswood and Gloucester City reside on Interstate 676 before it elevates on freeway viaduct into the city. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/05/00).
Perspective from Interstate 76 east
Interstate 76 eastbound as it ascends across the Delaware River crossing of the Walt Whitman Bridge. In this photo is the first guide signage for the southern terminus of Interstate 676 and Interstate 76C roadway (U.S. 130 north reference). As for the bridge itself, it carries a $3 toll for westbound motorists and sees a variable speed limit. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
The lanes of the Walt Whitman Bridge can be reconfigured depending on time of day or traffic conditions. The jersey barriers to the left can be adjusted to add for an extra eastbound lane (note also the LED arrows on the Interstate 76 eastbound guide sign). Although the next exit is within the Garden State, the guide signage carries a Pennsylvania mileage figure with Exit 354 (should be Exit 2). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
The right lane becomes exit only for Interstate 676 north and U.S. 130 north. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
To Interstate 295, the New Jersey Turnpike, and U.S. 130 south, continue east on Interstate 76. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
Descending from the highest point of the Walt Whitman Bridge, Interstate 76 east approaches the first interchange in New Jersey for Interstate 676 and U.S. 130 north. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
Eastbound Interstate 76 reaches Exit 354, Junction Interstate 676 and U.S. 130 north. The connection to U.S. 130 north is afforded via the unsigned Interstate 76 Connector, which shows up as a green toll road between the Walt Whitman Bridge and U.S. 130 and New Jersey 168 in south Camden in the 2007 Rand McNally Road Atlas. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).
This original button copy guide signage is a remnant from the old Express/Local lane configuration. The empty space to the right of the Interstate 76 shields displayed, in black text on yellow boxes the words "Express" or "Local", at one time. Either way, traffic bound for Interstate 676 north or U.S. 130 north (via Interstate 76C) to the community of Collingswood should stay to the right. Access to Interstate 295, the New Jersey Turnpike, and New Jersey 42 (the North South Freeway) is available to all through lanes. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman and Carter Buchanan (08/09/04).

Sources:

  1. Press Release: DRPA Celebrates "Ben Franklin Bridge, 80 Years of History" by the Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey (DRPA), July 6, 2006.

Page Updated May 3, 2007.

 
Mileage

State Pennsylvania
Mileage 2.15
Cities Philadelphia
Junctions Interstate 76, Interstate 95
State New Jersey
Mileage 4.75
Cities Camden
Junctions Interstate 76
TOTAL 6.90
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 676 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Philadelphia Interstate 76 & U.S. 30 West Schuylkill Expressway Pennsylvania 611 Broad Street 115,000
Philadelphia Pennsylvania 611 Broad Street Interstate 95 Delaware Expressway 119,000
Philadelphia Interstate 95 Delaware Expressway NJ State line 107,000
Source: Pennsylvania Traffic Volumes 2002 (Penndot)

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