Interstate 676 Pennsylvania / New Jersey

Routing

Interstate 676 forms an urban loop through Downtown Philadelphia across the Delaware River to Camden, New Jersey. Along with I-579 at Pittsburgh, I-676 is one of two Interstates in Pennsylvania that do not use exit numbers.

Following the Vine Street Expressway, I-676 travels below the Philadelphia street grid from the Schuylkill River to Logan Square, Broad Street (PA 611) and Chinatown to emerge east of 10th Street. The Vine Street Expressway provides a high speed link to Interstate 95 (Delaware Expressway) while the I-676 mainline navigates exit ramps and surface streets around Franklin Square to complete the connection with the Ben Franklin Bridge. Drivers along I-676 east are directed onto 6th Street southbound briefly before joining the bridge approach. The westbound direction of intersects Franklin and 8th Streets before merging with the Vine Street Expressway ahead of 10th Street.

I-676 & U.S. 30 cross the Delaware River into Camden on the seven-lane wide Ben Franklin Bridge. Tolls are collected for the westbound direction of the span at a plaza beside Linden Street. Interstate 676 east splits with U.S. 30 as it encircles Downtown southward to Haddon Avenue as a six-lane freeway. The route ends at the east approach to the Walt Whitman Bridge (I-76).

High Priority Corridor

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

History

The Vine Street Expressway spurred east from the Schuylkill Expressway to 18th Street by 1959. The portion east from Broad Street to the directional T interchange with I-95 was not finished until July 1991.1 The Benjamin Franklin Bridge opened to traffic on July 1, 1926.2

Historically, the Vine Street Expressway represented the northern quadrant of an urban belt system around Downtown Philadelphia. The inner loop included the unbuilt South Street Expressway in addition to sections of the Schuylkill and Delaware Expressways. 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. Ultimately the opposition became insurmountable, and the expressway project was scrapped. A remnant of the scuttled plan is the scaled down exit ramp to Columbus Boulevard from Interstate 95 northbound.

The Schuylkill Expressway southeast into Philadelphia was designated a part of Interstate 80S until 1964. I-680 was also assigned to the Schuylkill Expressway south of Vine Street and across the Walt Whitman Bridge. When the Pennsylvania Turnpike east from Monroeville became a part of newly designated Interstate 76, I-676 was created in place of I-680 in Philadelphia.

As approved by AASHTO on June 20, 1972, Interstates 76 and 676 swapped alignments between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. Previously I-76 was routed along the Vine Street Expressway spur and the freeway south through Camden to Fairview, New Jersey. I-676 followed the Schuylkill Expressway southeast to the Walt Whitman Bridge and Gloucester City, New Jersey. The designations were switched as the Vine Street Expressway was incomplete at the time and still many years away from completion.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 12/30/94.
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 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 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 08/09/04.
The right lane becomes exit only for Interstate 676 north and U.S. 130 north. Photo taken 08/09/04.
To Interstate 295, the New Jersey Turnpike, and U.S. 130 south, continue east on Interstate 76. Photo taken 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 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 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 08/09/04.

Sources:

  1. Vine Street Expressway (I-676 and US 30), NYCRoads.com.
  2. "Ben Franklin Bridge, 80 Years of History." Delaware River Port Authority of Pennsylvania and New Jersey (DRPA), press release. July 6, 2006.

Page Updated May 3, 2007.

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