Interstate 70 in Pennsylvania
Interstate 70 or I -70 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Pennsylvania. The highway forms an east-west connection in the southwest of the state, from the Ohio border at West Alexander to the Maryland border at Warfordsburg. The section between New Stanton and Breezewood coincides with the Pennsylvania Turnpike, a toll road that is double-numbered with Interstate 76. Notorious is the situation in Breezewood, where traffic that wants to follow I-70 has to turn off and drive through the built-up area of Breezewood with traffic lights. I-70 is 270 kilometers long in Pennsylvania.
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I-70 at West Newton, south of Pittsburgh.
The intermission of I-70 in Breezewood.
In a wooded rural area, Interstate 70 in West Virginia crosses the Pennsylvania border. Parallel to the route is the US 40, which has been doing this since Kansas. Pretty soon you reach the town of Washington, which has 15,000 inhabitants, and should not be confused with Washington DC. On the north side of Washington, the highway is briefly double-numbered with Interstate 79, the highway from Charleston in West Virginia to Pittsburgh and Erie. Here, some through traffic turns north into the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, which is 31 miles to the northeast.
Interstate 70 then continues its route through slightly hilly area, passing south of Pittsburgh. At Charleroi one crosses SR-43, a toll road from Uniontown in the south to the southernmost suburbs of Pittsburgh. One then crosses the Monongahela River, an important tributary of the Ohio, via a bridge. At New Stanton you reach the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 76. Via a toll station, you turn onto the Turnpike here and continue the route to the east.
The Turnpike has only 3 exits over the 200 kilometers between New Stanton and Breezewood and is intended for through traffic. Local traffic takes US 30, which runs more or less parallel from Pittsburgh to Breezewood. The US 40 has already turned south and can only be seen again in Maryland. At Somerset one crosses the US 219, but there are no direct interchanges for this, one has to take the exit Somerset and then via a State Route to the US 219, which runs to Johnstown. East of Somerset follows the Allegheny Tunnel, a long land tunnel by American standards under a steep ridge through the Appalachian Mountains.
The town of Bedford crosses Interstate 99, the highway to Altoona and State College in the central part of the state. In the south one can go to Cumberland in Maryland. You then reach the village of Breezewood, where you turn off and go through a couple of traffic lights through the village, which lives off the through traffic on I-70. Interstate 76 continues toward Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and on the long haul to New York. Interstate 70 provides access to the major cities of Baltimore and Washington. Interstate 70 then follows a due southerly direction for the next 25 miles. There are almost no villages or roads in this area. Just south of Warfordsburg they cross the border into Maryland, after which Interstate 70 in Maryland continues to Baltimore and Washington.
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Much of I-70 runs over the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The portion over which I-70 is double-numbered opened on October 1, 1940, for 139 kilometers for traffic between New Stanton and Breezewood. Then, during the 1950s, the bypass was built south of Pittsburgh, from Washington to the Pennsylvania Turnpike at New Stanton, which opened in stages between 1953 and 1960. At that time, I-70 was 40 miles along the south side of the Pittsburgh region.
Most other stretches of I-70 were in use in the first half of the 1960s, the highway was completed from Breezewood to the Maryland border in 1965, and the missing link between the West Virginia border and Claysville was opened in 1968., which completed I-70 in Pennsylvania.
In the 2000s, western I-70 was over 50 years old and suffered from poor road surfaces, substandard design requirements, and bridges that were in poor condition. A $500 million plan was presented to upgrade I-70 to current Interstate Highway design requirements. Other wishes include widening I-70 from the West Virginia border to the Pennsylvania Turnpike to 2×3 lanes. The work to modernize I-70 is being carried out step-by-step, so that there is always work somewhere along the route. On November 16, 2013, a new flyover opened at the eastern interchange between I-70 and I-79. This flyover replaced a trumpet node.
One of the most infamous missing links of the Interstate Highway system is the junction of I-70 with the Pennsylvania Turnpike in the village of Breezewood. Consisting mostly of gas stations, motels and restaurants, the village is completely dependent on traffic following I-70, which has always held back the construction of a full-fledged interchange. At the moment there are no plans to change this, and traffic has to go through some traffic lights in Breezewood.
|New Stanton||Breezewood||139 km||01-10-1940|
|Exit 32 Bentleyville||Exit 35 PA-481||5 km||00-00-1954|
|Exit 35 PA-481||Exit 40 Speers||8 km||00-00-1955|
|Exit 41 Belle Vernon||Exit 46 PA-51||8 km||00-00-1956|
|Exit 40 Speers||Exit 41 Belle Vernon||2 km||00-00-1957|
|Exit 46 PA-51||Exit 51 Wyano||8 km||00-00-1958|
|Exit 25 Eighty Four||Exit 32 Bentleyville||11 km||00-00-1959|
|Exit 51 Wyano||New Stanton||10 km||00-00-1959|
|Exit 20 Washington||Exit 25 Eighty Four||8 km||00-00-1960|
|Exit 163 Amaranth||Exit 168 Warfordsburg||8 km||00-00-1961|
|Exit 6 Claysville||Exit 20 Washington||23 km||00-00-1963|
|Exit 151 Crystal Spring||Exit 163 Amaranth||19 km||00-00-1964|
|Breezewood||Exit 151 Crystal Spring||5 km||00-00-1965|
|Exit 168 Warfordsburg||Maryland state line||4 km||00-00-1965|
|West Virginia state line||Exit 6 Claysville||10 km||00-00-1968|
Some 31,000 vehicles cross the border into West Virginia every day. The double numbering with the I-79 has 50,000 vehicles per day, and is the busiest point of the I-70 in Pennsylvania. The Turnpike has about 32,000 vehicles per day. 17,000 vehicles cross the border into Maryland every day.