Pennsylvania

3.3796296296126 (1512)
Posted by r2d2 02/27/2009 @ 08:38

Tags : pennsylvania, states, us

News headlines
Pennsylvania trooper, man die in shootout - United Press International
TOBYHANNA, Pa., June 8 (UPI) -- One of two Pennsylvania State Police troopers shot following the pursuit of a man suspected of parental abduction has died, police said Monday. Trooper Joshua Miller, 34, was airlifted to Lehigh Valley Hospital in...
Court won't hear case of man with porn on computer - The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won't stop Pennsylvania officials from prosecuting a man whose computer was found to contain child pornography while it was at Circuit City being upgraded. Kenneth Sodomsky wants the high court to suppress the videos...
Next leader of AFL-CIO could see rise in power - Washington Post
The scuffed-up relic is a reminder of how far Trumka has come since he started working in the mines of Pennsylvania at 19, a path that led him to become the youngest president of the United Mine Workers and, later, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO....
Specter 'Proud' To Be a Democrat - Washington Post
Arlen Specter told Pennsylvania's Democratic leaders Saturday that he is "pleased and proud" to be back in the party he left shortly after launching his political career more than four decades ago. "I'm no longer a Republican in name only....
Insomnia and Anxiety May Be Genetically Linked - U.S. News & World Report
Lead author Philip Gehrman, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and colleagues said they expected to find sleep-specific genetic effects, and were surprised they didn't....
Kate Gosselin Steps Out in Pennsylvania - Us Magazine
Kate Gosselin, who just returned from a vacation in North Carolina on with her youngest children, stops to get gas in Reading, Pennsylvania on June 8, 2009. Kate Gosselin made her first appearance since returning from her vacation....
At PV America, Rendell says alternative energy will boost economy - Bizjournals.com
The federal government can help the country escape from recession by launching a five-to-10 year infrastructure revitalization program and by taking steps to boost the production and consumption of alternative energy, Pennsylvania Gov....
Cash-poor Pennsylvania school districts press teachers for concessions - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Debra Erdley Pennsylvania teachers could find themselves in the eye of a storm as schools buffeted by declining tax collections look for ways to cut costs. The Hempfield Area School District in Westmoreland County and two in the east — Quakertown...
Pennsylvania Education Secretary Joins US Sen. Casey, Local ... - PR Newswire (press release)
HARRISBURG, Pa. , June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania must properly use federal stimulus funding to continue its targeted investments in student achievement and to avoid local property tax increases, Education Secretary Gerald L. Zahorchak...
Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Mourns Death of State Trooper Joshua ... - PR Newswire (press release)
HARRISBURG, Pa. , June 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Edward G. Rendell today offered his condolences to the family and friends of Pennsylvania State Tpr. Joshua D. Miller , 34, who died as the result of a wound suffered in a gun battle June 7...

United States congressional delegations from Pennsylvania

These are tables of congressional delegations from Pennsylvania to the United States Senate and United States House of Representatives.

For the first two Congresses, Pennsylvania had eight seats. In the First Congress, Representatives were selected At-large on a general ticket. Districts were used in the Second Congress.

Pennsylvania had thirteen seats. For the third Congress Representatives were selected At-large on a general ticket. After that, districts were created.

There were eleven districts. Districts 1–3 each had three seats elected on a general ticket. District 4 had two such seats. Districts 5–11 each had one seat.

There were 15 districts. The 1st district had four seats elected on a general ticket. The 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 10th each had two seats elected on a general ticket. The rest of the districts each had one seat.

Following the 1840 census, Pennsylvania was apportioned 28 seats. The commonwealth divided them into 25 districts and two districts, the 2nd and the 4th, had two and three seats respectively.

To the top



Pennsylvania Turnpike

Westbound Pennsylvania Turnpike approaching the Pittsburgh interchange (I-376/US 22).

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a toll highway system operated by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in the state of Pennsylvania, United States. The turnpike system encompasses 532 miles (855 km) in three sections. Its main section, extending from the Ohio state line in the west to the New Jersey state line in the east, is 359 miles (578 km). Its Northeast Extension, extending from Plymouth Meeting in the southeast to Wilkes-Barre and Scranton in the northeast, is 110 miles (177 km). Its various access segments in Western Pennsylvania total 62 miles (100 km).

The highway serves most of Pennsylvania's major urban areas. The main east/west section serves the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia areas, while its Northeastern Extension serves the Allentown/Bethlehem and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas.

This 360-mile (580 km) highway allows an optional way of paying called E-ZPass, in which tolls are paid electronically through a transponder attached to the car behind its rear-view mirror or attached to the front bumper.

The majority of the turnpike is operated as a ticket system toll road, in which a driver receives a paper ticket on entry and pays on exit, with the amount pre-calculated based on entrance and exit points. Most of the system's access points are simple "trumpet" interchanges, with a toll barrier located between the interchange and the local connector road. Between 1940 and 1997, the road had three "mainline" barrier plazas, one at Gateway (at the Pennsylvania/Ohio state line), connecting to the Ohio Turnpike, one at the Delaware River Bridge near Bristol Township, where the turnpike crosses the Delaware River and connects with the New Jersey Turnpike, and one on the Northeastern Extension at Clarks Summit, where it connects with Interstate 81 near Scranton.

In 1992, the new Mid-County interchange opened, connecting Interstate 476 with the main trunk of the Turnpike. It doubles as a mainline and interchange barrier. In 2002, the Gateway barrier was converted to an all-cash plaza. And, since January 2, 2006, only eastbound motorists are charged – westbound motorists no longer have to pay a toll (similar to the one-way tolls on the Garden State Parkway). In addition, a new mainline barrier, at Warrendale, was added. With the opening of the new Warrendale barrier, the Turnpike between Gateway and Warrendale is toll-free and gives motorists direct access to the James E. Ross Highway, Interstate 79, and two local roads. A similar approach was used between the Wyoming Valley interchange and Clarks Summit on the Northeastern Extension, allowing for the construction of the Keyser Avenue interchange, along with a new coin-drop booth north of the exit. This will also be implemented when the Turnpike/Interstate 95 exit is completed in Bristol Township allowing I-95 to access the Turnpike with a high-speed interchange.

E-ZPass is accepted in designated lanes at all toll plazas. The Virginia Drive exit near Fort Washington is accessible only to E-ZPass customers. In addition, the proposed Great Valley interchange near Malvern and the Philadelphia Park interchange near Bensalem are expected to be E-ZPass-only.

The turnpike is equipped with a call box at each mile for its entire length. Motorists may also dial *11 on their mobile phones. First responder services are available to all turnpike customers via the State Farm Safety Patrol program.

When the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940, it was the first long-distance rural highway in the United States and was popularly known as the "tunnel highway" because of the seven mountain tunnels along its route.

The turnpike was partially constructed on an unused railroad grade constructed for the aborted South Pennsylvania Railroad project, and six of its seven original tunnels (all tunnels with the exception of the Allegheny Mountain tunnel) were first bored for that railroad. The construction began in the 1880s but was never completed. A combined total of 4.5 miles (7.2 km) of tunnel had been dug through seven mountains.

Proposals to use the grade and tunnels for a toll road were made starting in late 1934. The road would bypass the steep grades on Pennsylvania's existing major east-west highways – US 22 (William Penn Highway) and US 30 (Lincoln Highway) – and offer a high-speed four lane route free of cross traffic. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was created by law on May 21, 1937, and construction began October 27, 1938 with the removal of water from the unfinished tunnels. The 160-mile (260 km) roadway took 770,000 tons of sand, 1,200,000 tons of stone, 50,000 tons of steel, and more than 300,000 tons of cement to complete. It was built at a cost of $370,000 per mile.

In October 1, 1940 the first section of Turnpike opened, running from US 11 near Carlisle (southwest of Harrisburg) west to US 30 at Irwin (east of Pittsburgh). As built, the majority of the road was four lanes, but it narrowed to one lane in each direction for the seven tunnels (the South Pennsylvania had begun work on nine, but two – the Quemahoning Tunnel and Negro Mountain Tunnel – were bypassed by the Turnpike). Despite the existence of the railroad right-of-way, much of the new Turnpike was built on a new, straighter alignment, as engineering had progressed much since the days of the railroad.

Unlike earlier parkways, mostly in the New York City area, which were restricted to cars, the Turnpike allowed all traffic. Like the German Autobahn on which it was loosely based, there was no enforced speed limit on most of the road—some cars could travel at 100 mph (160 km/h) and traverse the entire 160 mile (256 km) original segment in less than two hours. The phenomenon of highway hypnosis began to afflict motorists on some of the long, straight segments—especially on the 21 mile (34 km) section of Turnpike between the Blue Mountain Tunnel and the eastern terminus at Carlisle.

With the success of the original 160 mile (256 km) segment, the Turnpike Commission planned to expand the original turnpike to a cross-state route, connecting Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with a high-speed route. This was shelved with the onset of World War II, but with the war's end, the Turnpike Commission resumed construction.

The Philadelphia Extension extended the turnpike east to King of Prussia near Philadelphia and Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. The first phase of that expansion made the highway slightly longer, stretching it to US 15 near Harrisburg. That section opened on February 1, and the rest of the expansion, east to King of Prussia, opened on November 20, 1950. At that time the old mainline toll booth and interchange at Carlisle was closed, and the Middlesex interchange, at the old east end at US 11, was reconfigured and renamed as the Carlisle interchange. The original eastern end of the Philadelphia Extension ended at what is now the present-day interchange with Interstate 76 and U.S. Highway 202.

The first piece of the Western Extension, from Irwin to US 22 at Monroeville, east of Pittsburgh, opened August 7, 1951. The remainder opened to traffic on December 26, 1951, taking the highway west almost to the Ohio state line. Traffic was diverted onto the two-lane Burkey Road just west of the western barrier toll for almost three years until a connection with the Ohio Turnpike connection opened. The interchange with Pennsylvania Route 18 at Homewood was not completed until March 1, 1952. The turnpike connected with Youngstown, Ohio, after the first section of the Ohio Turnpike opened on December 1, 1954.

The Delaware River Extension opened on August 23, 1954 to Pennsylvania Route 611 at Willow Grove, and the intermediate Fort Washington interchange with PA 309 opening September 20. Extensions opened October 27 to U.S. 1 near Trevose and November 17 to US 13 near Bristol Township. The final piece opened on May 23, 1956 with the completion of the Delaware River-Turnpike Toll Bridge, which connected to a short spur of the New Jersey Turnpike.

The Northeast Extension, from the Mid-County Interchange northwest of Philadelphia north to Interstate 81 near Scranton, opened in stages from November 23, 1955 to November 7, 1957. This was the last segment of the Turnpike system to be built until the late 1980s, and formerly signed as PA 9. It was later made part of I-476 (continuing that route from the Chester-to-Plymouth Meeting freeway), because no more 2-digit odd Interstate numbers were available in that part of the U.S.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission originally proposed a statewide system of additional toll highways, but these plans were rendered unnecessary with the inception of the U.S. Interstate Highway system in 1956. A toll-free east-west competitor – Interstate 80 – opened on August 29, 1970 across northern Pennsylvania, forming a route that was more direct for New York-Chicago traffic. In 2007, however, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania leased Interstate 80 to the Turnpike Commission. Under this lease agreement, this would have allowed the Turnpike Commission to convert Interstate 80 to a toll highway. However, on September 11, 2008, the Federal Highway Administration rejected Pennsylvania's application to toll Interstate 80.

On November 24, 2004, two thousand Teamsters Union employees of the Pennsylvania Turnpike went on strike, after contract negotiations failed. This was the day before Thanksgiving, usually one of the busiest traffic days in the United States. To keep the turnpike open, tolls were waived for the remainder of the day. Starting on November 25, flat-rate passenger tolls of $2 and commercial tolls of $15 were collected from cash customers on the ticketed system by management staff of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. E-ZPass customers were charged the lesser of the actual toll or the same flat rates. This represented a substantial discount for many travelers, who would normally have to pay $19.75 to travel along the full length of the main east-west route in a passenger car, and between $29 and $794, depending on vehicle weight class, to cross the state in a commercial vehicle. The strike only lasted seven days, with an agreement reached on November 30. Normal toll collection resumed December 1.

After it opened as the nation's first superhighway, the Pennsylvania Turnpike was popularly known as the "Tunnel Highway". Postcards and other souvenirs promoted this name because, immediately after opening, the original stretch of the turnpike sported seven tunnels through Pennsylvania's Appalachian Mountains. These tunnels, in order of east to west, bored through Blue Mountain, Kittattiny Mountain, Tuscarora Mountain, Sideling Hill, Ray's Hill, Allegheny Mountain, and Laurel Hill.

While the highway was built as a four-lane, limited-access highway, the seven tunnels each held only two travel lanes. Traffic was squeezed from four lanes to two at each tunnel portal, and traffic proceeded through each tunnel without being divided from oncoming traffic. By the 1960s, this situation was creating long delays at each tunnel bottleneck. To alleviate this overcrowding, the turnpike commission studied ways to either expand or bypass each tunnel.

The result of this project was the "twinning" (construction of a second, parallel, two-lane tunnel) of four tunnels, and the outright bypass and closure of the other three. The Blue, Kittattiny, Tuscarora, and Allegheny Mountain Tunnels were expanded through the construction of new tunnels identical to the original tunnels in design, construction methods (dynamite and wooden supports), and length. After the second tunnels were completed at each location, the original tunnels were temporarily closed for rehabilitations that included upgrades in forced air ventliation and lighting systems.

The Sideling Hill, Rays Hill, and Laurel Hill tunnels were closed and bypassed. The adjacent Sideling Hill and Rays Hill tunnels were replaced with one stretch of highway that climbed over those mountains, while the Laurel Hill Tunnel was bypassed with a long rock cut through the mountain. The three bypassed tunnels are still in existence.

The 13-mile (21 km) stretch that contained the Sideling Hill and Rays Hill Tunnels are now part of a popular tourist attraction known as the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike, most of which was sold to Southern Alleghenies Conservancy in 2001. The Laurel Hill stretch, which is much shorter at about 2 miles (3.2 km), is still owned by the PTC and trespassing is prohibited.

The Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike contains the Lehigh Tunnel, a 4,461-foot (1,360 m) tunnel through Blue Mountain. The tunnel was named "Lehigh Tunnel" so as not to cause confusion with the existing Blue Mountain tunnel on the mainline. The tunnel was originally to be named for Turnpike Commission chairman Thomas J. Evans, but this was changed due to his July 25, 1967 conviction for conspiracy to defraud the Turnpike Commission of $19 million.

The Lehigh Tunnel was originally a two-lane tunnel, in the manner of the highway's original seven tunnels, until it was "twinned" in the early 1990s. The new Lehigh Tunnel is the only tunnel built by the Turnpike Commission using the New Austrian Tunnelling method. With this method, tunnels are built using a special machine resembling a large electric razor blade, guided by lasers. The tunneled area is reinforced with shotcrete, a slurry mixture, as it is bored, eliminating the need for wooden supports. Because of the new construction, the new tube, which is round, contrasts sharply with the original rectangular tube, which was carved by the older dyamite blasting method.

The Allegheny Mountain Tunnel, currently the longest tunnel complex on the entire Turnpike system (only the bypassed Sideling Hill Tunnel was longer), and the only one of the original seven tunnels not to have been originally bored for the aborted Southeast Pennsylvania Railroad project, is currently the most problematic tunnel for the turnpike. In 1996, the turnpike commission began a study on how to address this tunnel, which was suffering from a low traffic capacity and deterioration. The study recommended that a bypass (known as the "Brown Cut") be blasted through the adjacent mountain, but a high pricetag and opposition from landowners and environmental groups shelved this project. The commission is currently realigning the approach roads to the tunnel while examining more acceptable ways to address the capacity and age-related issues of the tunnels.

Although the extensions were dropped, the commission also looked into a major expansion project in the early 1970s in which the east-west mainline would be expanded into a "dual-dual" eight-lane highway similar to that of the New Jersey Turnpike between Monroe Township (near Jamesburg) and Newark. With the dual-dual configuration, the inner two lanes would be car-only lanes while the outer lanes would be for trucks, buses, and trailers.

The dual-dual would have required major realignments, similar to that of the Sideling Hill relocation, but most of the original infrastructure would have remained intact in most places. This plan was dropped by 1976, but since 1980, most of the original plan was implemented on a smaller scale. Truck climbing lanes were built on the Allegheny Ridge and Sideling Hill, and the roadway was expanded to six lanes between the Valley Forge and Philadelphia exits. The six-lane configuration was planned or in the process of being constructed between the proposed Great Valley Slip Ramp and Norristown, between Philadelphia and the New Jersey Turnpike, and on the Northeast Extension between Mid-County and Lansdale.

Today, the Turnpike is controlled by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, handles over 172 million vehicles per year, and employs nearly 2,200 people.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is currently reconfiguring and expanding the Turnpike to meet modern traffic needs. Parts of the original Irwin-Carlisle section are being rebuilt with new roadbeds (using the original concrete and later macadam paving), and long-duration "Superpave" macadam asphalt (similar to a process used on I-95 in Delaware between U.S. Highway 202 and the Pennsylvania State Line in 2000), new interchanges, and overpasses, the latter two being done well in advance of any major upgrade projects.

A project to expand the highway from four to six lanes between Norristown and Valley Forge is now complete, making the entire length of the turnpike between the Philadelphia and Valley Forge interchanges six lanes. The completion of the entire I-95/Turnpike exit (along with the building of the paralleling Turnpike Connector Bridge) will bring the entire Delaware River Extension to six lanes.

A similar six-lane expansion started in late 2008 for the Northeast Extension between its junction in Plymouth Meeting to the Lansdale interchange in Kulpsville, and another expansion is planned on the mainline turnpike between Valley Forge and the Downingtown interchange, the westernmost of the turnpike's Philadelphia suburban interchanges. Some of the bridges between Valley Forge and Downingtown have already been widened.

Other projects include building unmanned "slip ramps" between existing interchanges. One has been built (for E-Z Pass tagholders only) near Fort Washington (Virginia Drive), and several others are planned.

On Memorial Day weekend 2005, the Pennsylvania Turnpike system became the first highway system in Pennsylvania to have a 65 mph (105 km/h) speed limit on the entire length (except for the tunnels themselves, and the winding 5.5-mile (9 km) eastern approach to the Allegheny Mountain Tunnel) of both the mainline turnpike and the Northeast Extension. This is the first time since the mandated 55 mph (88 km/h) speed limit was implemented in 1974 that a motorist can cross the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania at 65 mph (105 km/h) without having to travel at lower speeds for extended periods.

The PA Turnpike Commission is currently seeking approval to add Interstate 80 to the turnpike system and thus apply a toll to the highway.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is considering several E-ZPass only slip ramps along the Pennsylvania Turnpike. These locations include PA Route 29 near milemarker 319 in East Whiteland Township, Chester County to serve the Great Valley Corporate Center near Malvern., Lafayette Street & U.S. 202 near milemarker 331 near Bridgeport and Norristown in Montgomery County, and PA Route 132 (Street Road) near milemarker 352 by the Philadelphia Park Racetrack in Bensalem Township, Bucks County. The Norristown slip ramp is intended to help revitalize the downtown area of Norristown, is expected to cost $160 million, and will call for an extension of Lafayette Street to the new interchange. Montgomery County officials have proposed a surcharge for the new exit in order to help pay for the project. The turnpike commission is also considering slip ramps near the New Stanton area as a part of the ongoing total reconstruction process going on between MP67 (IRWIN) and MP75 (New Stanton) and in Carbon County on the Northeast Extension to provide access to PA Route 903 for Poconos traffic between the Mahoning Valley (74) and Pocono (95) interchanges.

Interstate 95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike now cross each other without an interchange. This is related to (but not because of) a gap in Interstate 95 in New Jersey, where local opposition groups managed to stop construction of the Somerset Freeway through the area. Earlier laws, since lifted, only allowed federal funds to be used to build connections to toll roads "to a point where such project will have some use irrespective of its use for such toll road, bridge, or tunnel", hence the lack of direct connections between the PA Turnpike and major north–south Interstates until the 1990s. Heading northbound from Pennsylvania into Ewing Township (by Trenton, New Jersey), Interstate 95 abruptly ends at its intersection with U.S. 1. From there, the highway is then signed as Interstate 295, and turns south. To continue on Interstate 95 northbound, one must travel south on Interstate 295 then east on Interstate 195 (or use a non-freeway section of U.S. 1) in order to reach the northern section of the New Jersey Turnpike, which is signed as Interstate 95.

A project is currently planned to install a high speed interchange between the two highways. In addition to the new interchange, the PTC will expand the existing four-lane road to six lanes east of the Philadelphia interchange (U.S. 1), build a new facility at milepost 353 to collect toll tickets, and convert the present Delaware River Bridge toll barrier, which currently collects tickets, to a westbound-only exact-change and high-speed E-ZPass facility. In addition, both the PTC and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority will build a twin parallel bridge over the Delaware River, with the NJTPA itself expanding the mainline Turnpike itself from its current six lanes to a dual-dual configuration like that found north of Monroe. This project will complete I-95 from Miami, Florida to Houlton, Maine. Construction is expected to start in early 2009 and will cost approximately $500 million.

In November 2006, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and former Pennsylvania House Speaker John Perzel separately raised the idea of a long-term lease of the turnpike to a private group as a means of raising money to improve other infrastructure within the state, following examples of similar toll road lease arrangements in Illinois, Indiana, Texas, and Virginia. Although no plans are immediately in place, Rendell and Perzel have speculated that a lease of the system could bring anywhere from $2.5 to $30 billion to the state.

This idea faced criticism from the legislature, and instead a plan was created to lease Interstate 80 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and place tolls on it to fund transportation. However, this plan faced opposition from many people in Northern Pennsylvania who feared tolls on I-80 would hurt the economy of the region, which led Rendell to revive the plan of leasing the Pennsylvania Turnpike. In October 2007, 34 companies submitted 14 proposals to leasing the turnpike. On May 19, 2008, the Spanish firm Abertis Infraestructuras, SA and Citi Infrastructure Investors of New York City submitted a record $12.8 billion proposal to lease the turnpike. It still faces approval by the state legislature.

The PTC awarded HMSHost a 30-year contract for all of the service plazas in 2006. As part of the deal, the plazas will be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up (most of them had been standing since the Turnpike opened in 1940, and had only been remodeled after Howard Johnson's left the turnpike in the 1980s), starting with the Oakmont Service Plaza near Pittsburgh, which would reopen in time for the 2007 U.S. Open Golf Championship at Oakmont Country Club. As of 2009, the Oakmont, North Somerset, and Sideling Hill plazas along the mainline and the Allentown Service Plaza along the Northeast Extension have been rebuilt.

The New Stanton Service Plaza and the King of Prussia Service Plaza on the main line as well as the Hickory Run Service Plaza on the Northeast Extension are currently under construction. Before the agreement, HMSHost had the bulk of the plazas, while McDonald's had five and Arby's had the plaza at Oakmont. Sunoco remains as the fuel supplier along the turnpike.

The deal led to the closing of 3 of the 21 plazas. The south Neshaminy Service Plaza near Philadelphia was closed and razed as part of the Philadelphia Park Raceway casino slip ramp project, while the Hempfield Service plaza was closed due to its close proximity to the New Stanton exit and the PTC needing to widen the roadway for the exit. The Zelienople Service Plaza closed on November 15, 2008 for lack of business (as opposed to Turnpike improvements). Zelienople was located on what is now the "free" stretch of the Turnpike from the Ohio state line to Cranberry Township. Motorists can easily leave and re-enter this section of the turnpike without having to travel through a toll plaza.

The westbound Denver Service Plaza was closed in the 1980s and is now home to a cold storage facility, separated from the turnpike by Jersey barriers.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission broadcasts current roadway, traffic, and weather conditions via "Highway Advisory Radio" transmitters at each exit. The broadcasts are available on AM 1640 and can be heard approximately two miles away from each exit.

Until October 25, 2000, exit numbers were numbered in sequence. On that day, mile-based exit numbers were added, and the old numbers were moved onto smaller "old exit" tabs. This was done at the same time the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) did a similar upgrade on all of the state's Interstate Highways.

For exits on the Northeast Extension, see Interstate 476.

To the top



Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Downtown Harrisburg and the Pennsylvania State Capitol, as seen from the Susquehanna River

Harrisburg is the capital of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in the United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 48,950, making it the tenth largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, Scranton, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Altoona.

Harrisburg is the county seat of Dauphin County and lies on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, 105 miles (169 km) west-northwest of Philadelphia. The Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry counties, had a population of 509,074 in 2000. A July 1, 2007 estimate placed the population at 528,892, making it the fifth largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in Pennsylvania after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton (the Lehigh Valley), and Scranton-Wilkes Barre. The Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon Combined Statistical Area, including both the Harrisburg-Carlisle and Lebanon Metropolitan Statistical Areas, had an estimated population of 656,781 in 2007.

Harrisburg played a notable role in American history during the Westward Migration, the American Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution. During part of the 19th century, the building of the Pennsylvania Canal and later the Pennsylvania Railroad allowed Harrisburg to become one of the most industrialized cities in the Northeastern United States.

Contrasted with its 1981 status as the second most distressed city in the nation, Harrisburg has undergone a dramatic economic change, with nearly $3 billion in new investment now realized. The U.S. Navy ship USS Harrisburg, which served from 1918-19 at the end of World War I, is named in honor of the city.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest indoor agriculture exposition in the United States, was first held in Harrisburg in 1917 and has been held there every January since then. Harrisburg also hosts the annual "Auto Show," a large static display of new as well as classic cars, which is renowned nation-wide. Harrisburg is also known for the infamous Three Mile Island accident, which occurred in nearby Middletown.

The site along the Susquehanna River where Harrisburg is located is thought to have been inhabited by Native Americans as early as 3000 BC. Known to the Native Americans as "Peixtin," or "Paxtang," the area was an important resting place and crossroads for Native American traders, as the trails leading from the Delaware to the Ohio rivers, and from the Potomac to the Upper Susquehanna intersected there. The first European contact with Native Americans in Pennsylvania was made by the Englishman, Captain John Smith, who journeyed from Virginia up the Susquehanna River in 1608 and visited with the Susquehanna tribe. In 1719, John Harris, Sr., an English trader, settled here and 14 years later secured grants of 800 acres (3.2 km2) in this vicinity. In 1785, John Harris, Jr. made plans to lay out a town on his father's land, which he named Harrisburg. In the spring of 1785, the town was formally surveyed by William Maclay, who was a son-in-law of John Harris, Sr. In 1791, Harrisburg became incorporated and was named the Pennsylvania state capital in October 1812.

During the first part of the 19th century, Harrisburg was a notable stopping place along the Underground Railroad, as escaped slaves would be transported across the Susquehanna River and were often fed and given supplies before heading north towards Canada. The assembling here of the Harrisburg Convention in 1827 led to the passage of the high protective-tariff bill of 1828. In 1839, Harrison and Tyler were nominated for President of the United States at Harrisburg. By the 1830s Harrisburg was part of the Pennsylvania canal system and an important railroad center as well. Steel and iron became dominant industries. Steel and other industries continued to play a major role in the local economy throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century. The city was the center of enormous railroad traffic and supported large furnaces, rolling mills, and machine shops. The Pennsylvania Steel Company plant, which opened in nearby Steelton in 1866, was the first in the country; later operated by Bethlehem Steel.

During the American Civil War, Harrisburg was a significant training center for the Union Army, with tens of thousands of troops passing through Camp Curtin. It was also a major rail center for the Union and a vital link between the Atlantic coast and the Midwest, with several railroads running through the city and spanning the Susquehanna River. As a result of this importance, it was a target of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia during its two invasions. The first time during the 1862 Maryland Campaign, when Lee planned to capture the city after taking Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, but was prevented from doing so by the Battle of Antietam and his subsequent retreat back into Virginia. The second attempt was made during the Gettysburg Campaign in 1863 and was more substantial. A short skirmish took place in June 1863 at Sporting Hill, just 2 miles west of Harrisburg. This is considered by many to be the northern-most battle of the Civil War.

Many important events have helped to shape Harrisburg over the years. The Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest indoor agriculture exposition in the United States, was first held in 1917 and has been held every January since then. The present location of the Show is the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Arena, located at the corner of Maclay and Cameron streets. In June 1972, Harrisburg was hit by a major flood from the remnants of hurricane Agnes. On March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, along the Susquehanna River located south of Harrisburg, suffered a partial meltdown. Although the meltdown was contained and radiation leakages were minimal, there were still worries that an evacuation would be necessary. Governor Richard Thornburgh did recommend an evacuation of pregnant women and preschool children who lived within a five mile radius of TMI. Although there were about 5,000 people covered by this recommendation, over 140,000 people fled the area.

After Harrisburg suffered years of being in bad shape economically, Stephen R. Reed was elected mayor in 1981 and has been re-elected ever since, making him the longest serving mayor of Harrisburg. He immediately started projects which would attract both businesses and tourists. Several museums and hotels such as Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, the National Civil War Museum and the Hilton Harrisburg and Towers were built during his term, along with many office buildings and residences. Several semi-professional sports franchises, including the Harrisburg Senators of the Eastern League, the defunct Harrisburg Heat indoor soccer club and the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL Second Division began operations in the city during his tenure as mayor. While praised for the vast number of economic improvements, Reed has also been criticized for population loss and mounting debt. For example, during a budget crisis the city was forced to sell $8 million worth of Western and American-Indian artifacts collected by Mayor Reed for a never-realized museum celebrating the American West.

Harrisburg is located at 40°16′11″N 76°52′32″W / 40.26972°N 76.87556°W / 40.26972; -76.87556 (40.269789, -76.875613).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.4 square miles (29.6 km2), of which, 8.1 square miles (21.0 km2) of it is land and 3.3 square miles (8.6 km2) of it (29.11%) is water.

Harrisburg is situated at the western fringe of the BosWash megalopolis, the name for a group of metropolitan areas in the northeastern United States. Directly to the north of Harrisburg is the Blue Mountain ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. The Cumberland Valley lies directly to the west of Harrisburg and the Susquehanna River, stretching into northern Maryland. The fertile Lebanon Valley lies to the east.

Harrisburg's western boundary is formed by the Susquehanna River, which also serves as the boundary between Dauphin and Cumberland counties. The city is divided into numerous neighborhoods and districts. Like many of Pennsylvania's cities and boroughs that are at "build-out" stage, there are several townships outside of Harrisburg city limits that, although autonomous, use the name Harrisburg for postal and name-place designation. They include the townships of: Lower Paxton, Middle Paxton, Susquehanna, Swatara and West Hanover in Dauphin County. The borough of Penbrook, located just east of Reservoir Park, was previously known as East Harrisburg. Penbrook, along with the borough of Paxtang, also located just outside of the city limits, maintain Harrisburg zip codes as well. The United States Postal Service designates 26 zip codes for Harrisburg, including 13 for official use by federal and state government agencies.

Downtown Harrisburg has two major performance centers. The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, which was completed in 1999, is the first center of its type in the United States where education, science and the performing arts take place under one roof. The Forum, a 1,763-seat concert and lecture hall built in 1930-31, is a state-owned and operated facility located within the State Capitol Complex. Since 1931, The Forum has been home to the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.

Beginning in 2001, downtown Harrisburg saw a surge of commercial nightlife development. This has been credited with reversing the city's financial decline, and has made downtown Harrisburg a destination for events from jazz festivals to Top-40 nightclubs.

Harrisburg is also the home of the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest agricultural exhibition of its kind in the nation. Farmers from all over Pennsylvania come to show their animals and participate in competitions. Livestock are on display for people to interact with and view. In 2004, Harrisburg hosted CowParade, an international public art exhibit that has been featured in major cities all over the world. Fiberglass sculptures of cows are decorated by local artists, and distributed over the city centre, in public places such as train stations and parks. They often feature artwork and designs specific to local culture, as well as city life and other relevant themes.

As of the census of 2005, there were an estimated 47,472 people living in Harrisburg. In the census of 2000, there were 48,950 people, 20,561 households, and 10,917 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,035.6 people per square mile (2,330.4/km²). There were 24,314 housing units at an average density of 2,997.9/sq mi (1,157.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 31.72% White, 54.83% Black or African American, 0.37% Native American, 2.83% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.54% from other races, and 3.64% from two or more races. 11.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Harrisburg is the 6th most populous city in eastern Pennsylvania and 47th in the nation of Vietnamese population with 2,649 residents.

There were 20,561 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.4% were married couples living together, 24.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.9% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 3.15.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,920, and the median income for a family was $29,556. Males had a median income of $27,670 versus $24,405 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,787. About 23.4% of families and 24.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.9% of those under age 18 and 16.6% of those age 65 or over.

The very first census taken in the United States occurred in 1790. At that time Harrisburg was a small, but substantial colonial town with a population of 875 residents. With the increase of the cities prominence as an industrial and transportation center, Harrisburg reached its peak population build up in 1950, topping out at nearly 90,000 residents. Since the 1950s, Harrisburg, along with other northeastern urban centers large and small, has experienced a declining population that is ultimately fueling the growth of its suburbs, although the decline - which was very rapid in the 1960s and 1970s - has slowed considerably since the 1980s. Unlike Western and Southern states, Pennsylvania maintains a complex system of municipalities and has very little legislation on either the annexation/expansion of cities or the consolidating of municipal entities.

Reversing fifty years of decline, 2007 Census Bureau estimates show that Harrisburg's population has actually grown. Between 2006 and 2007, Harrisburg gained 22 people.

The Harrisburg area has two daily newspapers. The Patriot-News is published in Harrisburg and has a daily circulation of over 100,000. The Sentinel, which is published in Carlisle, roughly 20 miles west of Harrisburg, serves many of Harrisburg's western suburbs in Cumberland County. The Press and Journal, published in Middletown, is one of many weekly, general information newspapers in the Harrisburg area. There are also numerous television and radio stations in the Harrisburg/Lancaster/York area, which makes up the 41st largest media market in the nation.

According to Arbitron, Harrisburg's radio market is ranked #79.

This is a list of FM stations in the greater Harrisburg, Pennsylvania metropolitan area.

Several feature films and television series have been filmed or set in and around Harrisburg and the greater Susquehanna Valley.

Since the early 1700s, Harrisburg has been home to many people of note. Because it is the seat of government for the Commonwealth and lies relatively close to other urban centers, Harrisburg has played a significant role in the nation's political, cultural and industrial history. Harrisburgers have also taken a leading role in the development of Pennsylvania's history for over two centuries. Two former U.S. Secretaries of War, Simon Cameron and Alexander Ramsey and several other prominent political figures, such as former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich, hail from Harrisburg. Many notable individuals are interred at Harrisburg Cemetery and East Harrisburg Cemetery.

Harrisburg is home to the Pennsylvania State Capitol. Completed in 1906, the central dome rises to a height of 272 feet (83 m) and was modeled on that of St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, Rome. The building was designed by Joseph M. Huston and is adorned with sculpture, most notably the two groups, Love and Labor, the Unbroken Law and The Burden of Life, the Broken Law by sculptor George Grey Barnard; murals by Violet Oakley and Edwin Austin Abbey; tile floor by Henry Mercer, which tells the story of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The state capitol is only the third-tallest building of Harrisburg. The five tallest buildings are 333 Market Street with a height of 341 feet (104 m), Pennsylvania Place with a height of 291 feet (89 m), the Pennsylvania State Capitol with a height of 272 feet (83 m), Presbyterian Apartments with a height of 259 feet (79 m) and the Fulton Bank Building with a height of 255 feet (78 m).

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. City Government Center, the only city hall in the United States named for a civil rights leader, serves as a central location for the administrative functions of the city.

Harrisburg has been served since 1970 by the “strong mayor” form of municipal government, with separate executive and legislative branches. The Mayor serves a four-year term with no term limits. As the full-time chief executive, the Mayor oversees the operation of 34 agencies, run by department and office heads, some of whom comprise the Mayor’s cabinet, including the Departments of Public Safety (police and fire bureaus), Public Works, Business Administration, Parks and Recreation, Incineration and Steam Generation, Building & Housing Development and Solicitor. The city has 721 employees (2003). The current mayor of Harrisburg is Stephen R. Reed (D), whose current term expires January 2010.

There are seven city council members, all elected at large, who serve part-time for four-year terms. There are two other elected city posts, City Treasurer and City Controller, who separately head their own fiscally related offices.

Dauphin County Government Complex, in downtown Harrisburg, serves the administrative functions of the county. The trial court of general jurisdiction for Harrisburg rests with the Court of Dauphin County and is largely funded and operated by county resources and employees.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex, dominates the city's stature as a regional and national hub for government and politics. All administrative functions of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are located within the complex and at various nearby locations.

Commonwealth Judicial Center, houses Pennsylvania's three appellate courts, which are located in Harrisburg. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which is the court of last resort in the state, regularly hears arguments at. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania are located here. Judges for these courts are elected at large.

Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse, located in downtown Harrisburg, serves as the regional administrative offices of the federal government. A branch of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is also located within the courthouse.

Harrisburg is also known world wide for its use of land value taxation. Harrisburg has taxed land at a rate six times that on improvements since 1975, and this policy has been credited by its long time mayor, Stephen R. Reed, as well as by the city's former city manager during the 1980s with reducing the number of vacant structures in downtown Harrisburg from about 4,200 in 1982 to less than 500.

Domestic and International airlines provide services via Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), which is located southeast of the city in Middletown. HIA is the third-busiest commercial airport in Pennsylvania, both in terms of passengers served and cargo shipments. Passenger carriers that serve HIA include US Airways, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Air Canada, and AirTran Airways. Capital City Airport (CXY), a moderate-sized business class and general aviation airport, is located across the Susquehanna River in the nearby suburb of New Cumberland, south of Harrisburg. Both airports are owned and operated by the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA), which also manages the Franklin County Regional Airport in Chambersburg and Gettysburg Regional Airport in Gettysburg.

Harrisburg is served by Capital Area Transit (CAT) which provides public bus, paratransit, and commuter rail service throughout the greater metropolitan area. Construction of a commuter rail line called CorridorOne will eventually link the city with nearby Lancaster in 2008.

Long-term plans for the region call for the commuter rail line to continue westward to Cumberland County, ending at Carlisle. In early 2005, the project hit a roadblock when the Cumberland County Commissioners opposed the plan to extend commuter rail to the West Shore. Due to lack of support from the county commissioners, the Cumberland County portion, and the two new stations in Harrisburg have been removed from the project. In the future, with support from Cumberland County, CorridorOne may extend to both shores of the Susquehanna River, where the majority of the commuting base for Harrisburg resides.

In 2006, a second phase of the rail project (named CorridorTwo) was announced to the general public. It will link downtown Harrisburg with its eastern suburbs in Dauphin and Lebanon counties (including Hummelstown, Hershey and Lebanon), and the city of York in York County. Future passenger rail corridors also include Route 15 from the Harrisburg area towards Gettysburg, as well as the Susquehanna River communities north of Harrisburg, and the Northern Susquehanna Valley region.

The lower level of the Harrisburg Transportation Center serves as the city's intercity bus terminal. Daily bus services are provided by Greyhound, Capitol Trailways, Fullington Trailways, and Susquehanna Trailways. They connect Harrisburg to other Pennsylvania cities such as Allentown, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Reading, Scranton, State College, Williamsport, and York and nearby, out-of-state cities such as Baltimore, Binghamton, New York, Syracuse, and Washington, D.C., plus many other destinations via transfers.

The public transit provider in York County, Rabbit Transit, operates its RabbitEXPRESS bus service on weekdays between the city of York and both downtown Harrisburg and the main campus for Harrisburg Area Community College. The commuter-oriented service is designed to serve York County residents who work in Harrisburg, though reverse commutes are possible under the current schedule. Buses running this route make limited stops in the city of York and at two park and rides along Interstate 83 between York and Harrisburg before making various stops in Pennsylvania's capital city. As of May 2007, the RabbitEXPRESS operates three times in the morning and three times in the afternoon.

A charter/tour bus operator, R & J Transportation, also provides weekday, scheduled route commuter service for people working in downtown Harrisburg. R & J, which is based in Schuylkill County, operates two lines, one between Frackville and downtown Harrisburg and the other between Minersville, Pine Grove, and downtown Harrisburg.

The Pennsylvania Railroad's main line from New York to Chicago passed through Harrisburg. The line was electrified in the 1930s, with the wires reaching Harrisburg in 1938. They went no further. Plans to electrify through to Pittsburgh and thence to Chicago never saw fruition; sufficient funding was never available. Thus, Harrisburg became where the PRR's crack expresses such as the Broadway Limited changed from electric traction to (originally) a steam locomotive, and later a diesel locomotive. Harrisburg remained a freight rail hub for PRR's successor Conrail, which was later sold off and divided between Norfolk Southern and CSX.

Norfolk Southern acquired all of Conrail's lines in the Harrisburg area and has continued the city's function as a freight rail hub. Norfolk Southern considers Harrisburg one of the 3 primary hubs in its system, along with Chicago and Atlanta, and operates 2 intermodal (rail/truck transfer) yards in the immediate Harrisburg area. The Harrisburg Intermodal Yard (formerly called Lucknow Yard) is located in the north end of Harrisburg, approximately 3 miles north of downtown Harrisburg and the Harrisburg Transportation Center, while the Rutherford Intermodal Yard is located approximately 6 miles east of downtown Harrisburg in Swatara Township, Dauphin County. Norfolk Southern also operates a significant classification yard in the Harrisburg area, the Enola Yard, which is located across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County.

Amtrak provides service to and from Harrisburg. The passenger rail operator runs its Keystone and Pennsylvanian services between New York, Philadelphia, and the Harrisburg Transportation Center daily. The Pennsylvanian route, which operates once daily, continues west to Pittsburgh. As of April 2007, Amtrak operates 14 weekday roundtrips and 8 weekend roundtrips daily between Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Philadelphia 30th Street Station; most of these trains also travel to and from New York Penn Station. The Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia was improved in the mid-2000s, with the primary improvements completed in late 2006. The improvements included upgrading the electrical catenary, installing continuously welded rail, and replacing existing wooden railroad ties with concrete ties. These improvements increased train speeds to 110 mph along the corridor and reduced the travel time between Harrisburg and Philadelphia to as little as 95 minutes. It also eliminated the need to change locomotives at 30th Street Station (from diesel to electric and vice-versa) for trains continuing to or coming from New York. As of Federal Fiscal Year 2006, the Harrisburg Transportation Center was the 2nd busiest Amtrak station in Pennsylvania and 24th busiest in the United States.

Harrisburg is the location of over a dozen large bridges, many up to a mile long, that cross the Susquehanna River. Several other important structures span the Paxton Creek watershed and Cameron Street, linking Center City with neighborhoods in East Harrisburg. These include the State Street Bridge, also known as the Soldiers and Sailor's Memorial Bridge, and the Mulberry Street Bridge.

The City of Harrisburg is served by the Harrisburg School District. The school district provides education for the city’s youth beginning with all-day kindergarten through twelfth grade. A multi-year restructuring plan is aimed at making the district a model for urban public schools. The district has been troubled for years with management fiascos and poor test scores. In the summer of 2007, more than 2,000 city students were enrolled in educational programs offered by the Harrisburg School District as remediation.

The city also maintains one public charter school, the Sylvan Heights Science Charter School. In addition, Harrisburg is home to an arts-focused magnet school, the Capital Area School for the Arts. In 2003, SciTech High, a regional math and science magnet school affiliated with Harrisburg University, opened its doors to students. A growing number of virtual public charter schools provide residents with many alternative to the bricks and morter public school system.

The Central Dauphin School District, the largest public school district in the metropolitan area and the 13th largest in Pennsylvania, uses several Harrisburg postal addresses for many of the districts schools.

Harrisburg is home to an extensive Catholic educational system. There are nearly 40 parish-driven elementary schools and seven Catholic high schools within the region administered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg, including Bishop McDevitt High School. Numerous other private schools, such as the The Londonderry School and The Circle School, which is a Sudbury Model school, also operate in Harrisburg. Harrisburg Academy, founded in 1784 is one of the oldest independent college preparatory schools in the nation. The Rabbi David L. Silver Yeshiva Academy, founded in 1944, is a progressive, modern Jewish day school. Also, Harrisburg is home to Harrisburg Christian School, founded in 1955.

To the top



Source : Wikipedia