Interstate 95 or I -95 is an Interstate Highway in the US state of Pennsylvania. The highway runs right through Philadelphia. The entire route has an urban to strongly urban character. I-95 runs parallel to the Delaware River. The highway is known in the state of Pennyslvania as the Delaware Expressway. The route passes several landmarks in the metropolitan area of Delaware Valley, including Philadelphia International Airport. The route is 71 kilometers long.
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I-95 on the double-deck bridge over the Schuylkill River.
I-95 at Downtown Philadelphia, with the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
I-95 at Prospect Park, south of Philadelphia.
Interstate 95 in Delaware merges seamlessly with the buildings into I-95 in Pennsylvania. The highway runs along the many port complexes, and has 2×3 lanes. When US 322 merges, the road widens to 2×4 lanes. A little further, US 322 turns off again, forming the Commodore John Barry toll bridge over the Delaware River to suburban New Jersey. After this, the road narrows again to 2×3 lanes. One passes Chester, an industrial suburb of Philadelphia. A little further on, I-476 begins, which forms Philadelphia’s western bypass. After this, I-95 has 2×4 lanes again.
At Exit 12 you pass Philadelphia International Airport via a complicated connection with many flyovers. The airport is right off the Interstate. One comes within the city limits of Philadelphia. The city itself is quite expansive, with the next 21 miles running within the Philadelphia city limits. Many other American cities have a smaller city with many suburbs. A double-deck bridge over the Schuylkill River brings you closer to the center, the skyline of Philadelphia is already visible. Yet the highway only has 2×3 lanes. After this, one crosses Interstate 76, leading to Pittsburgh to the west, and to suburban New Jerseyruns, via the Walt Withman Bridge, a toll bridge.
The highway widens again to 2×4 lanes, and runs elevated through the city. On the right you see the harbors, on the left the densely built residential areas. The road passes east of downtown, along the Delaware River. The highway is partially sunken and has parallel roads running at ground level. After this one passes the I-676, the highway connecting downtown Philadelphia and the New Jersey suburb of Camden. After this, the drive through the endless residential areas of the city begins. One passes State Route 90, the Betsy Ross Bridge, a toll bridge to New Jersey. This junction is incomplete, and half viaducts can be seen, the road was planned further into the city here, but was never built. The road has 2×4 lanes here. There is an interchange at the end of the city boundary with State Route 63, Woodhaven Road, a local highway to the northeast of the city. From here follow the many suburbs.
At Croydon the road narrows to 2×3 lanes, from Bristol there are still 2×2 lanes. At Bristol there is an interchange with Interstate 276 and Interstate 295, with I-95 exiting to the east and crossing the Delaware River at Bristol via the Delaware River – Turnpike Toll Bridge . After that, Interstate 95 in New Jersey continues around the south and east sides of Trenton toward New York City.
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In 1932, the Regional Planning Federation proposed a parkway system in and around Philadelphia, similar to the New York City Parkways built by Robert Moses at the time. Like New York’s Parkways, Philadelphia’s should have at least 2×2 lanes with grade separated intersections and distinctive overpasses. Most of the banks of the Delaware were already in use as industrial areas, and were therefore not suitable for building a park-like highway. However, a parkway was proposed between northeast Philadelphia and Croydon in Bucks County, since the banks of the Delaware there were not yet developed.
Beginning in 1937, regional engineers proposed an expressway that would connect the Port of Philadelphia, downtown, and the northeast of the city as an elevated highway. The design of the so-called Delaware Skyway was similar to the proposed West Side Highway in Manhattan. However, the idea was shelved after it emerged that such an elevated highway would thwart port operations in Philadelphia. In 1945 the plan resurfaced and in 1947 the route was approved. The estimated cost was $180 million, a record amount for the time. The expected delivery date was 1960.
In the early 1950s, ideas arose to turn the proposed highway into a toll road. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission proposed a network of toll roads across the state of Pennsylvania. In 1955 estimates were made of the traffic volumes for 1960 and 1980 with a freeway and turnpike variant. With the freeway variant, 185,000 vehicles were expected in 1960 and 287,000 in 1980. With the turnpike variant, 89,000 vehicles were expected in 1960 and 141,000 vehicles in 1980.
Later in 1955, the 82-kilometer route was added to the Interstate Highway system by the Federal Bureau of Public Roads (BPR). A year later, the system was implemented by President Eisenhower, making the route eligible for 90% federal dollars. The alternative turnpike therefore became redundant.
As an Interstate Highways project, Interstate 95 in Pennsylvania would be constructed with Interstate Highway design requirements, with 4 to 8 lanes, wide lanes, emergency lanes and good connections. The highway was to be built partially deepened in Delaware County south of Philadelphia.
Construction began in 1959 on two unconnected sections, one in Delaware County and one through northeast Philadelphia and Bucks County. In 1962, a portion of the Delaware border to US 13 at Eddystone was opened, plus a portion of Cottman Avenue in Philadelphia to State Route 40 in Bristol. In 1969, the remainder of the route between downtown Philadelphia and Trenton in New Jersey was opened.
The rest of the route, however, took longer, and for several years there was a missing link in south Philadelphia. In 1975 the southern section was extended to Essington. In 1976, a section in South Philadelphia between Enterprise Avenue and Interstate 76 was opened, which did not yet connect with either of the other routes. In 1979, the section between Enterprise Avenue and downtown Philadelphia opened, but it was still missing 4 miles from the Philadelphia airport. The latter part opened on December 15, 1989, 37 years after the opening of the first part. The cost ended up being $500 million.
Originally, I-95 in northeast Philadelphia had a short 2×3 lane around Cottman Avenue (Exit 30), while connecting sections had 2×4 lanes, a classic example of a bottleneck. Between 2012 and 2017, this part of less than 2 kilometers was widened to 2×4 lanes. The extra lanes opened to traffic on December 22, 2016. The project cost $212 million.
In 2014, construction began on an interchange between I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-276) in Bristol. This will ensure that I-95 will continue to run from Maine to Florida, as I-95 originally ends in Trenton on I-295 heading back south. The construction of the junction took no less than 8 years, although few buildings need to be demolished. The first phase of the project opened on September 24, 2018 , finally establishing I-95 as a through route through the region. The cost was $650 million. Even before the project was completed, I-95 was rerouted through the south side of Trenton. The old route along the west side of Trenton has been renumbered I-295.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to replace all bridges between Exit 22 and Exit 30 in Philadelphia to create a 2×4 lane section. This is to replace the bridges from the 1960s, which are generally in a worse condition. This project is called Revive95 and will run until mid-2025. A substantial part was already completed in 2018.
I-95 at Chester.
|0||Delaware state line||141,000||97,000|
|4||Commodore Barry Bridge||156,000||127,000|
|26||Betsy Ross Bridge||182,000||192,000|
|exit 0||Exit 7||2×3|
|Exit 7||Exit 12A||2×4|
|Exit 12A||exit 13||4×3|
|exit 13||Exit 17||2×4|
|Exit 17||Exit 19||2×3|
|Exit 19||Exit 26||2×4|
|Exit 26||Exit 27||2×3|
|Exit 27||exit 32||2×4|
|exit 32||Exit 40||2×3|
|Exit 40||exit 45||2×2|