Interstate 83 comprises an older freeway running north from Baltimore, Maryland to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I-83 within the city of Baltimore is locally maintained, while the route throughout Baltimore County is maintained by the Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA).
Within Pennsylvania, I-83 leads north to York, where it takes an old bypass of U.S. 111 to the east. The freeway continues from there through hilly areas east of the Conewago Mountains to Cumberland County and the Harrisburg area. Turning east, I-83 spans the Susquehanna River to the south of Downtown Harrisburg. It turns north again at the Eisenhower Interchange to combine with U.S. 322 north to Progress, Colonial Park and Interstate 81.
I-83 Capital Beltway Project
A major overhaul and upgrades of Interstate 83 through Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is underway as part of the I-83 Capital Beltway Project. Separated into four sections, construction addresses aging pavement, dated interchange design and capacity issues.
Work completed includes the I-83/PA 581 Interchange Bottleneck Safety Project, which addressed safety issues and congestion at the York Split exchange between the two freeways. A second lane was added for the I-83 mainline movement and weaving traffic patterns were addressed with ramp modifications and replacements. This interim improvement was completed in Summer 2015; long term plans call for constructing a systems interchange in place of the current trumpet at the York Split.
I-83 East Shore Section 1 extends northward the interchange with Union Deposit Road to Interstate 81. Completed in May 2019, Contract 1 replaced overpasses for U.S. 22 (Jonestown Road, Elmerton Avenue and Union Deposit Road. Work also made further modifications to the exchange with U.S. 22 and sidewalk improvements along Jonestown Road. Bids for Contract 2 were opened in June 2018, with a Notice to Proceed given in July 2018. Work through 2022 widened Interstate 83 to six overall lanes plus auxiliary lanes, built four mainline bridges and added noise walls.
I-83 East Shore Section 2 addresses the dated Eisenhower Interchange and expands the freeway between the Susquehanna River and Paxtang. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) document for the Environmental Assessment for Section 2 on June 10, 2020. Construction could have began in 2023, however an update in March 2023 outlined partitioning the project into five construction contracts, with right-of-way acquisition beginning later in 2023. Road work could now start by 2026.
I-83 East Shore Section 3 widens Interstate 83 east from the Susquehanna River toward 29th Street with additional travel lanes and collector distributor roadways. Right of way acquisition started in February 2020, followed by Environmental Site Assessment field work in March 2020. Bids for construction were scheduled for Summer 2023, with construction commencing in Fall 2023.
Parallel U.S. Routes
Interstate 83 replaced U.S. 111 from Baltimore north to Harrisburg.
Interstate 83 began as a short section of freeway along U.S. 111 in 1950. By 1960, most of the freeway for U.S. 111 in Pennsylvania was completed, just in time to be redesignated as Interstate 83. U.S. 111 was retired in 1963, and I-83 was fully completed by 1971.2
Within Maryland, Interstate 83 also began as a freeway for U.S. 111, with initial completion by 1955. South of the Baltimore Beltway, I-83 opened from Interstate 695 to Guilford Avenue by 1963, southward to Monument Street in the 1970s, and to Pleasant Street by 1983. The southernmost portion of I-83 in Baltimore opened by 1990.3
The southern end of I-83 was previously planned to link with Interstate 95 in Baltimore. An early proposal took I-83 to a conclusion at I-95 within the Fells Point community. These alignments were later changed to move I-95 south to the Fort McHenry Tunnel and extend I-83 east through Canton. Stub ramps were built at the I-95 interchange with Boston and O’Donnell Streets for I-83. However as was the case with many Baltimore freeway plans, community opposition canceled this portion of I-83.
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 exit.1
Maryland – 34.50
Pennsylvania – 50.53
Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-83 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Source: Baltimore County, Maryland Traffic Volume Map 2018 AADT (MDOT)
Baltimore City – Baltimore County, Maryland Traffic Volume Map 2016 AADT (MDOT)
Source: Pennsylvania Traffic Volume Maps 2017 (Penndot)
The portion of Interstate 83 shown as proposed on the 1976 Maryland Map was never built. Interstate 70 east of Cooks Lane and the western leg of I-170 were equally unconstructed.
Interstate 83 was completed in 1971, but the north end defaulted traffic onto Interstate 81 north until 1976, when I-81 was completed southward to Front Street and the George N. Wade Bridge across the Susquehanna River.5
North End – Colonial Park, Pennsylvania
North West at
Interstate 83 northbound entered a full cloverleaf interchange (Exits 50A/B) with U.S. 22 (Jonestown Road) one mile south of I-81. Started in June 2016, the I-83 East Shore Section 1 project rebuilt this exchange into a parclo interchange, replaced the Jonestown Road overpass, and prepared the roadway for expansion to eight overall lanes. 06/20/12
I-83 expanded to three northbound lanes from U.S. 22 to Exit 51 for Interstate 81. Overheads pictured here were mounted on the Elmerton Avenue overpass. Contract 1 work for the I-83 East Shore Section 1 project replaced this span to accommodate widening in Contract 2. Expansion work runs from late 2018 to late 2021. 06/20/12
North East at
North East at
South End – Fayette and President Streets – Baltimore, Maryland
Interstate 83 shifts southeast on the final 0.3 miles to President Street at Fayette Street. The freeway was originally planned to turn eastward from roughly this location and continue to Interstate 95. 06/27/10
The speed limit reduces to 35 miles per hour above N Gay Street. Photo by Tim Reichard (09/14/02).
President Street – North at
- 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.
- Pennsylvania Highways: Interstate 83.
- MDRoads: I-83.
- Pennsylvania Highways: Interstate 83 Business Routes.
- Pennsylvania Highways: Interstate 81.
Page updated April 12, 2023.