Interstate 176 Pennsylvania
Known also as the Morgantown Expressway, Interstate 176 is a spur from I-76 / Pennsylvania Turnpike north to U.S. 422 on the outskirts of Reading. The freeway replaced Pennsylvania 10 and U.S. 122 as the main route between the Turnpike at Morgantown and the city of Reading.
Alternatively known as the Reading Spur, the Morgantown Expressway was first proposed in 1957.1 Numbered Interstate 180, as the Pennsylvania Turnpike was designated as Interstate 80S at the time, the first contract for the freeway was awarded on August 17, 1960. It covered the 3.61-mile stretch of I-180 between Green Hills Lake and the Reading Bypass (U.S. 422).2 Costing $9 million to build, the Morgantown Expressway was dedicated on October 23, 1962 by Governor David L. Lawrence in a ribbon cutting ceremony.1. Completion of the route led to the 1963 decommissioning of U.S. 122, which followed a parallel course through Berks County.
Until 1996, Interstate 176 ended at Pennsylvania 10/23 (Main Street) in the community of Morgantown in Caernarvon Township. There was no direct connection to I-76 along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Eight options to link the two Interstates were considered in 1984. The most costly was a $33-million, 1.5-mile long connector branching southeast from a point 2.5 miles north of the freeway end at Morgantown. This option included building new trumpet interchanges at each end.3
Initial work on the Morgantown Connector focused on replacing the original Morgantown Interchange at PA 10 with a new trumpet interchange and access road located 1.5 miles to the northeast. This $17-million project was completed by November 1990.5 Costing $18.5 million, construction on the remainder of the two mile long Morgantown Connector commenced in 1994 and was completed on September 27, 1996.4 The former roadway of I-176 extending south to West Main Street was retained and numbered as Exit 2.
North End – Reading, PA
South End – Morgantown, PA
Mileage – 11.35
Cities – Reading
- Junctions –
Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-176 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
Interstate 176 Extension
A hearing held on December 8, 1966 outlined two concepts to extend Interstate 176 southward.6 One proposal lengthened Interstate 176 southwest from Morgantown along a parallel course 1.5 miles to the south of Pennsylvania 23, to New Holland and Lancaster. Estimated to cost $15.4-million, the 21.8-mile long route was thought to initially open as a two-lane limited access highway.7 This met strong opposition due to the duplication of the then-proposed freeway for U.S. 222 from Reading to Lancaster. A second highway proposal involved either extending Interstate 176 south to Oxford or widening Pennsylvania 10 into a four-lane expressway. Talks at this time also included building the Morgantown Connector.6
Speed limits along Interstate 176 were posted at 65 miles per hour from 19668 until November 30, 1973, when the national 55 mile per hour limit was imposed.9 All signage along Interstate 176 was replaced by Summer 2000.
North End – Reading, Pennsylvania
South End – Morgantown, Pennsylvania
Interstate 176 connects I-76 with PA 10 just north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Morgantown. The original freeway spur south to PA 10/23 spans the toll road one mile ahead of Exit 298. PA 23 leads northeast to Hopewell Furnace National Historical Site adjacent to French Creek State Park. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (06/24/08).
I-176 (Morgantown Expressway) travels north through Robeson Township toward Reading. PA 10 parallels the freeway on the old alignment of U.S. 122 north to Downtown Reading. The state route leads south from Morgantown to U.S. 30 near Parkesburg and U.S. 1 near Oxford. Nearby PA 23 travels southwest to Lancaster and east to Phoenixville. Photo taken by Chris and Amber Lokken (06/24/08).
- “Governor Officially Opens Morgantown Expressway.” Reading Eagle (PA), October 23, 1962.
- “First Expressway Contract Awarded.” Reading Eagle (PA), August 17, 1960.
- “Morgantown interchange plans weighed.” Reading Eagle (PA), September 13, 1984.
- “Morgantown Connector to open today.” Reading Eagle (PA), September 27, 1996.
- “Route 10 access limited.” Reading Eagle (PA), February 28, 1989.
- “Highway Department at Fault in Failure to Improve Route 10.” Reading Eagle (PA), January 23, 1968.
- “Berks Needs new Route 10 Southward and Before State Rebuilds Route 23.” Reading Eagle (PA), December 8, 1968.
- “Morgantown Expressway To Get 65 M.P.H. Limit.” Reading Eagle (PA), July 25, 1966.
- “Speed Signs Altered.” Reading Eagle (PA), November 30, 1973.
Page updated February 20, 2019.