Pennsylvania Route 320

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PA Route 320 marker

PA Route 320
Route information
Maintained by PennDOT and Lower Merion Township
Length: 18.832 mi[1] (30.307 km)
Major junctions
South end: PA 291 in Chester
  US 13 in Chester
I-95 in Chester
US 1 in Springfield
US 30 in Villanova
I-76 near West Conshohocken
North end: PA 23 in Upper Merion Township
Location
Counties: Delaware, Montgomery
Highway system
PA 319 PA 321

Pennsylvania Route 320 (PA 320) is a north–south state highway in southeastern Pennsylvania. The southern terminus of the 18.8-mile (30.3 km) long route is at PA 291 in Chester. The northern terminus is at PA 23 in Swedeland. The route passes through suburban areas in Delaware and Montgomery counties to the west of Philadelphia, serving Swarthmore, Springfield, Broomall, Villanova, and Gulph Mills. PA 320 intersects many important highways including U.S. Route 13 (US 13) and Interstate 95 (I-95) in Chester, US 1 in Springfield, US 30 in Villanova, and I-76 in Gulph Mills. PA 320 runs parallel to I-476 (Blue Route) for much of its length and crosses it four times. Even though there are no direct interchanges between I-476 and PA 320, several roads that intersect PA 320 provide access to I-476.

The southernmost part of PA 320 was built as part of the Providence Road in 1684. PA 320 was first designated by 1928 between US 13 in Chester and PA 23 in Lower Merion Township. PA 320 was extneded south to PA 291 by 1940. The route was extended north to US 202 in Bridgeport via West Conshohocken by 1960. By 1970, the northern portion of the route was realigned to its current routing, replacing parts of PA 23 Alternate (PA 23 Alt.) and PA 23 and following part of former PA 123, with PA 23 rerouted to replace the part of PA 320 from southeast of West Conshohocken to Bridgeport. The nearby I-476 opened in 1991, reducing traffic levels on PA 320.

Route description[edit]

Delaware County[edit]

PA 320 southbound at Springfield Road in Marple Township

The southern terminus of PA 320 is at PA 291 in the city of Chester in Delaware County. At this point, PA 320 follows the one-way pair of Madison Street northbound and Upland Street southbound, one block to the east. The streets head northwest through urban development, crossing under Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The one-way pair crosses US 13 as it passes more urban rowhomes along with some grassy lots. PA 320 comes to an interchange with I-95 a block east of PA 352. This interchange has access to southbound I-95 and from northbound I-95 from both PA 320 and PA 352. Access to northbound I-95 and from southbound I-95 is provided by the one-way pair of 12th Street eastbound and 13th Street westbound, which run a short distance to either side of I-95. The route passes over CSX's Philadelphia Subdivision immediately after crossing over I-95. A short distance north of I-95, southbound PA 320 becomes discontinuous. After the gap, both directions of PA 320 continue north on two-way Providence Avenue, which carries four lanes total. The road passes homes and businesses, running to the west of Widener University. The route narrows to two lanes and crosses the Ridley Creek, at which point it leaves Chester and enters Nether Providence Township. Here, the route becomes Providence Road and runs thruogh suburban residential areas. PA 320 intersects the southern terminus of PA 252, at which point PA 252 continues north along Providence Road and PA 320 heads northeast on Chester Road.[2][3]

The route runs between homes to the southeast and the Springhaven Country Club to the northwest with one northbound lane and two southbound lanes. PA 320 becomes a three-lane road with a center left-turn lane and comes to a bridge over Crum Creek, where it enters a small disconnected part of Springfield Township, and I-476. The road curves north through areas of residences and businesses, crossing into the borough of Swarthmore at the Fairview Road intersection. Here, PA 320 becomes a two-lane road and passes through wooded areas of homes. The road heads between Swarthmore College to the west and commercial areas to the east and passes under SEPTA's Media/Elwyn Line at the Swarthmore train station. The route passes through more of the college campus before heading back into wooded neighborhoods. PA 320 turns northwest onto Swarthmore Avenue for one block before turning north onto Cedar Lane and coming to an intersection with Baltimore Pike.[2][3]

Following this intersection, the route heads back into Springfield Township and becomes Sproul Road, widening into a four-lane divided highway and passing between the Springfield Mall to the west and a residential neighborhood to the east. The route narrows back into a two-lane undivided road and comes to a bridge over SEPTA's Route 101 trolley line near the Springfield Mall station. The road continues north through residential areas with some commercial development, passing to the east of Springfield Hospital and Springfield Golf and Country Club. PA 320 widens back to a four-lane divided highway and intersects the northern terminus of PA 420, at which point it heads into business areas. The route continues north to aa diamond interchange with US 1.[2][3]

Past the US 1 interchange, PA 320 passes more commercial establishments and crosses into Marple Township, becoming a four-lane undivided road. The route passes over I-476 again and intersects Springfield Road immediately after that, at which point it becomes a five-lane road with a center left-turn lane and passes between a large cemetery to the west and Cardinal O'Hara High School and some woods to the east. The road becomes a four-lane divided highway as it runs past businesses along with some nearby residential areas. PA 320 curves northwest before turning northeast to remain along Sproul Road, with Springfield Road continuing to the northwest. The route heads north through residential areas as a two-lane undivided road before coming to an intersection with PA 3 in commercial areas in the community of Broomall. Past this intersection, PA 320 heads northeast past more homes, turning north to continue along Sproul Road. The road continues through wooded residential areas, crossing the Darby Creek into Haverford Township. The route continues through the corner of Haverford Township, intersecting the western terminus of Darby Road before it heads into Radnor Township.[2][3]

PA 320 continues north through forested residential areas, passing to the east of Overbrook Golf Club and west of Radnor Valley Country Club. The road winds northeast and comes to an intersection with Conestoga Road under a bridge carrying I-476. The route heads northeast and passes under SEPTA's Norristown High Speed Line before coming to an intersection with US 30 in the community of Villanova. Following this, PA 320 becomes Spring Mill Road and passes between residential neighborhoods to the northwest and Villanova University to the southeast. The road passes over Amtrak's Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line near the Villanova station serving SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line trains before running through more of the university campus.[2][3]

Montgomery County[edit]

Hanging Rock on what is now PA 320 in Gulph Mills, c. 1919

Upon crossing County Line Road, PA 320 enters Lower Merion Township in Montgomery County and continues east-northeast along Spring Mill Road through wooded residential areas. One block after County Line Road, PA 320 turns northwest onto Montgomery Avenue, curving north and passing under I-476 again. The road passes under the Norristown High Speed Line near the Matsonford station immediately before crossing Matsonford Road into Upper Merion Township. Here, the route becomes South Gulph Road and runs through heavily wooded areas a short distance to the west of the high speed line. PA 320 widens into a four-lane road and turns northeast onto two-lane Trinity Road at the point South Gulph Road reaches an interchange with I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway). Here, the route immediately passes under the Norristown High Speed Line and I-76 before running through wooded residential areas in the community of Gulph Mills as Holstein Road. PA 320 turns northeast onto Swedeland Road and heads through industrial areas, coming to its northern terminus at an intersection with PA 23 in the community of Swedeland near the Schuylkill River north of West Conshohocken.[2][4]

History[edit]

In 1683, the Court of Chester County (which originally comprised present-day Delaware County) approved the construction of "Providence Great Road", which comprised present-day PA 320 from Chester north to PA 252. The road was built to provide access to Chester from the north. The Providence Road was said to have been completed in 1684.[5] When Pennsylvania first legislated routes in 1911, what would become PA 320 was legislated as part of Legislative Route 225, a route that ran from Chester to Bridgeport.[6] PA 320 was first designated by 1928 to run from US 13/PA 91 in Chester north to PA 23 at the intersection of Spring Mill Road and Montgomery Avenue in Lower Merion Township. At this time, the current route of PA 320 along Montgomery Avenue and Gulph Road was designated as a part of PA 23 while the route between Gulph Mills and Swedeland was designated as part of PA 123.[7] By 1940, PA 320 was extended south to PA 291 in Chester. Also by this time, US 1 Bypass (US 1 Byp.) was designated concurrent with the route between US 1 (Baltimore Pike) and State Road.[8] By 1950, the PA 123 designation was removed along the road north of Gulph Mills.[9]

PA 320 was extended north to US 202 in Bridgeport by 1960, continuing northeast along Spring Mill Road before turning northwest along the present-day PA 23 and passing through West Conshohocken before continuing to Bridgeport. The route followed part of the former PA 123 alignment between Swedeland and Bridgeport. Also by 1960, the US 1 Byp. concurrency was removed.[10] PA 320 was rerouted to use its current alignment to reach its present northern terminus at a realigned PA 23 by 1970, replacing parts of PA 23 Alt. and PA 23 along Montgomery Avenue and South Gulph Road. PA 23 replaced the former PA 320 designation from southeast of West Conshohocken to Bridgeport.[11] In the later part of the 20th century, PA 320 saw increasing traffic levels as it served as one of the main north-south routes through Delaware County. In 1991, the parallel I-476 (Blue Route) was opened to traffic after years of planning and construction, reducing traffic levels along PA 320.[12]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile[1] km Destinations Notes
Delaware Chester 0.000 0.000 PA 291 (Fourth Street)
0.335 0.539 US 13 (Ninth Street)
0.599 0.964 I-95 Exit 6 on I-95
Nether Providence Township 2.180 3.508 PA 252 north (Providence Road) – Media Southern terminus of PA 252
Springfield Township 6.203 9.983 PA 420 south (Woodland Avenue) Northern terminus of PA 420
6.509 10.475 US 1 (State Road) to I-476 Interchange
Marple Township 9.737 15.670 PA 3 (West Chester Pike) – Newtown Square, Upper Darby
Radnor Township 14.372 23.129 US 30 (Lancaster Avenue) to I-476
Montgomery Upper Merion Township 17.272 27.797 I-76 (Schuylkill Expressway) – King of Prussia, Philadelphia Exit 330 (Gulph Mills) on I-76; no entrance from PA 320 to I-76 west
18.832 30.307 PA 23 (Schuylkill River Road) – Bridgeport, Conshohocken
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Bureau of Maintenance and Operations (December 31, 2012). "Roadway Management System Straight Line Diagrams" (2013 ed.). Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Google Inc. "Pennsylvania Route 320". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://goo.gl/maps/Xmkhy. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e ADC Map (2006). Metro Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Map). 1"=2000' (19th ed.). ISBN 978-0-87530-777-0.
  4. ^ ADC Map (2006). Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Map). 1"=2000' (18th ed.). ISBN 0-87530-775-2.
  5. ^ Proceedings of the Delaware County Historical Society 1. Delaware County Historical Society. 1902. p. 54. Retrieved January 10, 2014. 
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1911). Map of Pennsylvania Showing State Highways (Map). ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BPR_pdf_files/Maps/Statewide/Historic_OTMs/1911.pdf. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  7. ^ Gulf Oil (1928). Pennsylvania Highway Map (Philadelphia Metro) (Map). http://www.mapsofpa.com/art5pics/1928phila3.jpg. Retrieved November 8, 2007.
  8. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1940). Official Road Map of Pennsylvania (back) (Map). ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BPR_pdf_files/Maps/Statewide/Historic_OTMs/1940bk.pdf. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  9. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1950). Official Road Map of Pennsylvania (Map). ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BPR_pdf_files/Maps/Statewide/Historic_OTMs/1950fr.pdf. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  10. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1960). Official Map of Pennsylvania (back) (Map). ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BPR_pdf_files/Maps/Statewide/Historic_OTMs/1960bk.pdf. Retrieved October 9, 2009.
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (1970). Official Map of Pennsylvania (Map). ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/pdf/BPR_pdf_files/Maps/Statewide/Historic_OTMs/1970fr.pdf. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
  12. ^ Infield, Tom (December 19, 2011). "20 years later, they love their Blue Route". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved January 12, 2014. 

External links[edit]