Road Construction PA Westbound I-80 vs Turnpike?
June 12, 2009 6:44 PM   Subscribe

At the moment, if one wants to drive westward through Pennsylvania, is it a better bet to take I-80 or the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-70/76) through the state? What's the construction like on those two routes?

Under ordinary circumstances, I'd say I-80. But I don't know if there's a significant amount of construction on either interstate at the moment. Have you driven there recently, and can you clue me in?

The PA Department of Transportation has a map, but it's only available if you have IE, and I don't - and I'm leaving in six hours.

Thanks for your help.
posted by Chanther to Travel & Transportation around Pennsylvania (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where are you coming from and where are you going? It looks like there's a bunch of overnight construction going down on the turnpike.
posted by The Michael The at 6:51 PM on June 12, 2009

I once took the turnpike from near Pittsburgh to Philadelphia on a Sunday -- it was one of the most miserable experiences of my life.

All else being equal, I'd take I-80 every time. No tolls, no tunnels and less traffic.
posted by nayrb5 at 7:02 PM on June 12, 2009

The tolls on the PA turnpike are ridiculous. I don't know what it is, but it seems higher than any other pike I've been on. If that's not an issue for you, it's the most direct route through, and I've never had a problem with construction delays.

That said, Pennsylvania is large, rectangular, and in my way (I say this living in PA). I'd pay the extra money for the chance to get through it more quickly.
posted by emilyd22222 at 7:14 PM on June 12, 2009

The PennDOT map isn't super-detailed or helpful, but it appears to show a number of trouble zones on I-80 just west of Hazleton, then again between State College and Pittsburgh, and yet again just at the Ohio border. The turnpike looks to be pretty clear.

That said, leaving construction out of it, I agree with nayrb5 that I-80's the better drive, especially in the dark. Pretty much a straight shot, without all the twists and turns and weird grades that I-76 has, plus in my experience the traffic is MUCH better. Your call.
posted by Bardolph at 7:36 PM on June 12, 2009

I took I-80 on a Saturday morning back in April about halfway across the state. No trouble. A few years ago they were doing a LOT of work on it that made life hell, but I think it's cleared up. And, as noted, no tolls (Except Delaware Water Gap is coming in from NJ), clean grade, plenty of rest stops. A good road and some nice views between exits 120 and 170 or so. There's that "Lord of the Rings"-thing when you drive between the mountains, some really scenic overlooks on beautiful farmland.

Yes, sir. I-80 ain't so bad.
posted by GilloD at 8:29 PM on June 12, 2009

I did I-80 halfway across two weeks ago. No major construction to speak of -- biggest problem was on 81 S getting there. I like it much better than the turnpike.
posted by olinerd at 6:11 AM on June 13, 2009

The best part of I-80, in my opinion, is stopping at the Show Shoe Diner in Show Shoe. Excellent scrapple, plus the truckers there will definitely have the latest info on construction.
posted by genmonster at 7:06 AM on June 13, 2009

Many thanks for all the replies. I ended up choosing I-80. A few construction zones, none of them bad. Beautiful and scenic, too.

I appreciate the help.
posted by Chanther at 6:45 PM on June 14, 2009

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