Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania

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Interstate 81

American Legion Memorial Highway
I-81 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by PennDOT
Length232.76 mi[1] (374.59 km)
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
South end I-81 at the Maryland state line near Greencastle
Major intersections
North end I-81 at the New York state line near Hallstead
CountryUnited States
CountiesFranklin, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon, Schuylkill, Luzerne, Lackawanna, Susquehanna
Highway system
PA 80 PA 81

Interstate 81 (I-81) is a north–south Interstate Highway, stretching from Dandridge, Tennessee, northeast to Fisher's Landing, New York, at the Canada–United States border. In Pennsylvania, I-81 runs for 232.76 miles (374.59 km) from the Maryland state line near Greencastle northeast to the New York state line near Hallstead and is called the American Legion Memorial Highway. It is the longest north–south Interstate in Pennsylvania.[2]

Route description

I-81 northbound in Paxtonia northeast of Harrisburg

I-81 enters Pennsylvania at the Maryland state line about 13 miles (21 km) south of Chambersburg; it also has its first exit at the state line, junctioning with Pennsylvania Route 163 (PA 163) there. In Chambersburg at exit 16, it meets U.S. Route 30 (US 30; the Chambersburg Pike to Gettysburg). About a mile (1.6 km) north of Carlisle at exit 52, it meets US 11, which connects to the Pennsylvania Turnpike/I-76 (halfway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), since I-81 has no direct interchange with I-76.[3][4] The stretch of US 11 connecting I-81 to I-76 is known locally as the "Miracle Mile" since it contains plenty of traveler services including restaurants, gas stations, lodging, truck stops, and shops.[5] From here, I-81 travels in an almost precisely east–west direction for the next 37 miles (60 km) (until exit 89). At exit 59, it has an interchange with the western terminus of PA 581. I-81 becomes the Capital Beltway from exit 59 to exit 70. At exit 67, the road comes to a stack interchange with US 22 and US 322; US 322 merges with I-81. Exit 70 is the eastern terminus of the US 322 concurrency and the northern terminus of I-83 and is located in Colonial Park. For the entire segment between the Mason–Dixon line and I-78, I-81 runs through the Great Valley. North of Harrisburg between I-83/US 322 and I-78, the highway passes near Hershey and Fort Indiantown Gap.[3][4]

I-81 northbound north of exit 134 in Delano Township

At milemarker 89, I-81 meets the western terminus of I-78; I-78 picks up the eastward route through the Great Valley and heads toward Allentown and New York City, while I-81 turns back northward, cutting through Blue Mountain at Swatara Gap. From milemarkers 141 to 146, I-81 passes near the city of Hazleton. At exit 151, I-81 meets I-80. As motorists enter Wilkes-Barre at milemarker 165, I-81 merges with PA 309 for five miles (8.0 km). At exit 175, I-81 meets with PA 315, which connects to I-476 (Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension). In Scranton at milemarker 185, there is a short freeway called the President Biden Expressway, which heads into downtown Scranton. At milemarker 187, I-81 is at the Throop Dunmore Interchange, which consists of I-84, I-380, and US 6. US 6 merges with I-81 for seven miles (11 km) from milemarkers 187 to 194. At milemarker 194 is the northern terminus of I-476. The last exit in Pennsylvania is exit 230, which is PA 171 near Hallstead. I-81 reaches the New York state line four miles (6.4 km) north of exit 230.[3][4]


I-81 northbound approaching Central Scranton Expressway (now President Biden Expressway) in Scranton

A toll highway along the present-day I-81 corridor through Pennsylvania was planned in the 1950s. The section from Scranton to the New York state line was planned as a continuation of the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. A new extension of the turnpike between Harrisburg and Scranton was also proposed. After the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 was passed, plans were changed to build a free Interstate Highway rather than a toll road. The first section to be built ran from PA 347 in Dunmore to US 11 in northern Scranton, this section opening in 1960. All of I-81 in Pennsylvania was completed by the 1970s. Construction cost nearly $443 million (equivalent to $2.59 billion in 2022[6]).[2]

On May 9, 2013, a tanker crashed and caught fire at the interchange between I-81 and US 22/US 322 in Harrisburg. The fire damaged the bridges carrying westbound US 22/US 322 and a ramp over I-81. At least one of those bridges, carrying US 22 eastbound over I-81 and several ramps, and possibly another, the ramp carrying traffic from I-81 northbound to US 22/US 322 westbound, would have to be demolished and replaced. The fire resulted in about 10 miles (16 km) of I-81 being closed in both directions, with traffic being diverted along the southern portion of the Capital Beltway.[7][8] The highway was not fully reopened until the evening of May 13.[9]


I-81 northbound at western terminus of I-78 in Lebanon County

Scranton Beltway

On April 28, 2016, plans were announced for a Scranton Beltway to use the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension (I-476) as a bypass for I-81 around the heavily congested segment through Scranton and its suburbs. The turnpike between the two I-81 interchanges carries an average of 10,000 vehicles per day versus 80,000[10] on the parallel segment of I-81. This project will build two high-speed connections between I-476 and I-81: one south of Scranton in Dupont and one north of Scranton in South Abington Township. Tolls on the connections will be paid with E-ZPass or toll by plate. Construction of this project is expected to cost $160 million.[11] In 2021, design work on the project resumed, with construction expected to begin in 2025.[12]

New interchange in Chambersburg

On October 24, 2018, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) released their plans for a new exit 12 on I-81, at Guilford Springs Road, estimated to cost around $23 million.[13] The purpose for the exit is to improve access for trucks to the various distribution warehouses south of Chambersburg, such as Target.[14] As such, Guilford Springs Road will be widened to three lanes as a part of this project. PennDOT has started obtaining environmental clearances and will start to seek rights-of-way in 2020 from approximately 7-10 properties. PennDOT will look at bids for construction starting in 2023.[13][needs update]

Exit list

CountyLocationmikmOld exit
New exit
FranklinAntrim Township0.000.00
I-81 south – Hagerstown
Continuation into Maryland
11 PA 163 – State LineSouthbound ramps are in Maryland
2.504.0223 US 11 (Molly Pitcher Highway)No southbound entrance from US 11 north
Greencastle4.807.7235 PA 16 – Greencastle, WaynesboroServes Whitetail Ski Resort
Guilford Township9.7015.61410 PA 914 – Marion
12.2019.6312Guilford Springs RoadPlanned interchange; bidding set to start in 2023
Chambersburg14.0022.53514 PA 316 (Wayne Avenue)Serves Chambersburg Business District
15.6025.11616 US 30 (Lincoln Way)Serves Gettysburg
16.7026.88717Walker RoadServes Norland Avenue and Wilson College
Greene Township19.8031.87820 PA 997 – ScotlandServes Penn State Mont Alto and Letterkenny Army Depot
Southampton Township24.1038.79924 PA 696 (Fayette Street)
township line
28.4045.711029 PA 174 (King Street)Serves Shippensburg University
Penn Township36.8059.221137 PA 233 – NewvilleServes Park and Ride Lot
South Middleton Township43.9070.651244 PA 465 – PlainfieldServes Carlisle Fairgrounds
Carlisle45.5073.231345College StreetAccess via Walnut Bottom Road; serves Penn State Dickinson Law
46.4074.671447 PA 34 (Hanover Street)Signed as exits 47A (south) and 47B (north) southbound; serves Dickinson College, Mount Holly Springs, and Gettysburg
South Middleton Township47.9077.091548 PA 74 (York Road)Northbound exit and southbound entrance; serves U.S. Army War College
South MiddletonMiddlesex
township line
48.4077.891649 PA 641 (High Street)Southbound exit and northbound entrance; serves U.S. Army War College
Middlesex Township51.5082.881752

US 11 to I-76 / Penna Turnpike – New Kingstown, Middlesex
Signed as exits 52A (north) and 52B (south) northbound; to Carlisle Interchange (Turnpike exit 226)
Silver Spring Township56.7091.251857 PA 114 – Mechanicsburg
Hampden Township59.0094.951959

PA 581 east to US 11 / I-83 – Camp Hill
South end of concurrency with the Capital Beltway; I-83 signed northbound
60.7097.692061 PA 944 (Wertzville Road)
East Pennsboro Township64.60103.962165 US 11 / US 15 – Enola, MarysvilleSigned as exits 65A (south) and 65B (north); serves Central Penn College
Susquehanna River65.30105.09George N. Wade Memorial Bridge
DauphinSusquehanna Township65.80105.892266Front Street – Downtown HarrisburgServes Harrisburg University, Harrisburg Transportation Center, and City Island

US 22 east / PA 230 east (Cameron Street)
Serves Farm Show Complex and Harrisburg Area Community College

US 22 west / US 322 west – Lewistown, State College
South end of concurrency with US 322
Susquehanna Township68.70110.562469Progress AvenueServes Widener University Commonwealth Law School
Lower Paxton Township69.60112.0170

I-83 south / US 322 east to Penna Turnpike – South Harrisburg, Hershey, York
North end of concurrency with US 322 / Capital Beltway; northern terminus of I-83; serves Harrisburg International Airport and Lancaster; South Harrisburg signed southbound; Hershey and Penna Turnpike signed northbound
To US 22 – Paxtonia, Linglestown
Access via Mountain Road; signed as exits 72A (south) and 72B (north) northbound; US 22 signed northbound
West Hanover Township76.60123.282777 PA 39 – Manada Hill, Hershey
To PA 743 – Grantville, Hershey
Access via Bow Creek Road; serves Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course
LebanonEast Hanover Township85.10136.962985
PA 934 south – Annville, Fort Indiantown Gap
Northern terminus of PA 934; signed as exits 85A (south) and 85B (north) northbound; serves Lebanon Valley College
Union Township88.50142.4389
I-78 east – Allentown
Western terminus of I-78; exit 1 on I-78
90.10145.003090 PA 72 – LebanonAccess via Fisher Avenue
SchuylkillPine Grove Township99.30159.8131100 PA 443 – Pine Grove
Tremont Township104.10167.5332104 PA 125 – RavineAccess via Molleystown Road
Frailey Township106.60171.5633107 US 209 – Tremont, Tower City
111.30179.1234112 PA 25 – Hegins
Foster Township115.90186.5235116 PA 901 – Minersville, Mount Carmel
Butler Township118.40190.5535A119Highridge Park RoadServes Schuylkill Highridge Business Park, Heckscherville, and Gordon
Frackville123.70199.0836124 PA 61 – Saint Clair, FrackvilleSigned as exits 124A (south) and 124B (north)
Mahanoy Township130.70210.3437131 PA 54 – Hometown, Mahanoy CitySigned as exits 131A (east) and 131B (west)
Delano Township133.50214.8538134DelanoAccess via Lakeside Avenue
Kline Township137.60221.4539138 PA 309 – McAdoo, Tamaqua
LuzerneHazle Township141.10227.0839A141

PA 424 east (Greater Hazleton Chamber of Commerce Beltway) to PA 309
Western terminus of PA 424
142.50229.3340143 PA 924 – HazletonServes Humboldt Industrial Park
Sugarloaf Township145.20233.6841145 PA 93 – West HazletonServes Penn State Hazleton
Butler Township150.50242.21151 I-80 – Bloomsburg, StroudsburgSigned as exits 151A (east) and 151B (west); exit 260 on I-80
Dorrance Township154.20248.1642155DorranceAccess via Blue Ridge Trail
Nuangola158.70255.4043159NuangolaAccess via Church Road
Hanover Township163.90263.7744164
PA 29 north – Nanticoke
Southern terminus of northern segment of PA 29
Wilkes-Barre Township164.70265.0645165

PA 309 south / PA 309 Bus. north – Wilkes-Barre, Mountain Top
South end of concurrency with PA 309; southern terminus of PA 309 Bus.; signed as exits 165A (south) and 165B (north) northbound
167.90270.2146168Highland Park Boulevard – Wilkes-BarreServes Mohegan Sun Arena
Plains Township169.80273.2747170A
PA 115 south – Bear Creek
Northern terminus of PA 115
PA 309 north – Wilkes-Barre
Northern terminus of concurrency with PA 309; serves King's College, Wilkes University, Misericordia University, and Penn State Wilkes-Barre
Pittston Township174.90281.4748175

PA 315 to I-476 / Penna Turnpike NE Extension – Pittston, Dupont
To Wyoming Valley Interchange (I 476 / Turnpike exit 115)
Avoca177.50285.6649178 PA 315 – Avoca, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport
LackawannaMoosic179.20288.3950180 US 11 / PA 502 – MoosicNo southbound access to US 11 north
Scranton181.50292.1051182Montage Mountain Road / Davis StreetServes PNC Field and Montage Mountain Ski Resort
To PA 307 / River Street
No southbound exit
184.20296.44 PA 307 (Moosic Street)Southbound exit only
184.30296.6053185President Biden ExpresswayEastern terminus of President Biden Expressway; serves Steamtown National Historic Site, University of Scranton, and Lackawanna College
Dunmore186.70300.4654186Drinker StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance

I-84 east / I-380 south / US 6 east – Milford, Mount Pocono, Carbondale
Throop Dunmore Interchange; south end of concurrency with US 6; western terminus of I-84 and northern terminus of I-380
188.10302.7255188 PA 347 – Throop, DunmoreServes Penn State Worthington Scranton and Marywood University
Scranton189.80305.4556190Main Avenue – Dickson City
US 6 Bus. / US 11 (North Scranton Expressway) – Dickson City, North Scranton
Signed as exits 191A (US 6 Bus.) and 191B (US 11)
South Abington Township193.40311.2558194

US 6 west / US 11 / I-476 south / Penna Turnpike NE Extension south – Clarks Summit
Clarks Summit Interchange (I-476 / Turnpike exit 131); north end of concurrency with US 6; northern terminus of I-476 / Turnpike Extension
Scott Township197.20317.3659197 PA 632 – Waverly
198.80319.9460199 PA 524 – Scott
200.50322.6761201 PA 438 – East Benton
Benton Township201.60324.4462202 PA 107 – Fleetville, TompkinsvilleServes Keystone College
SusquehannaLenox Township206.00331.5263206 PA 374 – Glenwood, LenoxvilleServes Elk Mountain Ski Area
211.10339.7364211 PA 106 – LenoxNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
211.40340.22 PA 92 – LenoxSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
Harford Township216.60348.5865217 PA 547 – Harford
New Milford Township219.30352.9366219 PA 848 – Gibson
New Milford223.50359.6967223 PA 492 – New Milford, Lakeside
Great Bend Township230.40370.7968230 PA 171 – Great Bend, Susquehanna
I-81 north – Binghamton
Continuation into New York
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ "Table 1: Main Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System Of Interstate and Defense Highways". FHWA Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. December 31, 2021. Retrieved July 18, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Kitsko, Jeffrey (September 30, 2014). "Interstate 81". Pennsylvania Highways. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Google (October 1, 2022). "Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (2022). Tourism and Transportation Map (PDF) (Map). 1:475,200. Harrisburg: Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  5. ^ "Miracle Mile, Carlisle, PA". Central PA Magazine. May 2002. Archived from the original on December 10, 2007. Retrieved October 1, 2022.
  6. ^ Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved December 19, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
  7. ^ "Governor: 'No clear timetable' for I-81 repairs". Lancaster, Pennsylvania: WGAL-TV. May 9, 2013. Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  8. ^ Heidenreich, Sari. "PennDOT updates road closures following tanker fire". ABC 27 WHTM. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
  9. ^ Snyder, Myles. "PennDOT Begins Reopening of I-81". ABC 27 WHTM. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
  10. ^ "Changes Coming on Interstate 81?". May 17, 2018.
  11. ^ "Pennsylvania Turnpike and PennDOT Announce Next Step for Planned I-81-Turnpike Beltway for Scranton Region - Plan to Address Congestion Relief" (Press release). Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. April 28, 2016. Archived from the original on April 10, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2016.
  12. ^ Murtha, Claudia (December 10, 2021). "Scranton Beltway project design restart announced". Hazleton, PA: WOLF-TV. Retrieved December 30, 2021.
  13. ^ a b Fitch, Jennifer. "Plans for I-81 exit 12 in Pennsylvania revealed to public". Herald-Mail Media. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  14. ^ Hook, Jim. "See plans for proposed I-81 Exit 12 at Guilford Springs Road in Chambersburg". Public Opinion Online. Retrieved 2019-08-09.
  15. ^ a b "Pennsylvania Exit Numbering" (PDF). Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved October 2, 2007.

External links

Interstate 81
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