Pennsylvania Route 378

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This article is about the current Pennsylvania Route 378. For the former route, see Pennsylvania Route 478.

PA Route 378 marker

PA Route 378
Route information
Maintained by PennDOT
Length: 10 mi (20 km)
Existed: 1971 (1968 as Interstate 378) – present
Major junctions
South end: PA 309 in Upper Saucon Township
North end: US 22 in Bethlehem
Location
Counties: Lehigh, Northampton
Highway system
PA 377 I-380

Pennsylvania Route 378 (designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation as SR 378) is a north-to-south road in Lehigh and Northampton counties. Its northern terminus is at U.S. Route 22 in Bethlehem and the portion north of the Lehigh River is a freeway. The highway was once Interstate 378 but when Interstate 78 was rerouted from U.S. Route 22 to south of the city, the spur became disjointed from its parent. I-378 was downgraded to state route status. Surprisingly, the state did not remove the exit tabs for the freeway, making PA Route 378 one of only a few state freeways with exit numbers (another one is PA 309 in Wilkes-Barre). The exit numbers also go in the wrong direction: Exit 3 is south of Exit 1, most likely due to the freeway being built when Pennsylvania still practiced sequential exit numbering.

It narrows to a city street on Bethlehem's South Side, crosses South Mountain to Lower Saucon Township, then proceeds to its southern terminus at PA 309 in Center Valley. PA 378 was originally known as Pennsylvania Route 191 south of the river. Today, PA Route 378 is the only highway from US 22 to Center City, and a quick route for visitors traveling to the Sands Casino Resort on the city's South Side. In 2009, the portion north of the Lehigh River was named the Fred B. Rooney Highway. Construction from West Broad Street to U.S Route 22 (Lehigh Valley Thruway) began in 1966 and finished in 1968. At that time, the segment received the Interstate 378 designation. It was changed to PA 378 in 1971 after I-378 was deleted. In 1974, the designation replaced Pennsylvania Route 191 from Center Valley to Third Street in Bethlehem.

Route description[edit]

The interchange with Route 378 on U.S. Route 22 eastbound in Bethlehem

Route 378 begins at two separate intersections with Route 309 in the community of Center Valley (part of Upper Saucon Township). The route heads northward, passing through the residential portions of Center Valley, paralleling the Old Bethlehem Pike. Soon, the southbound lanes follow fields and commercial buildings surround the northbound. After an intersection with Preston Lane, Route 378 turns to the northeast through more residential districts and continues its parallel of the nearby turnpike. The highway departs from the residential district and enters the Saucon Valley Country Club. At the intersection with Osgood Avenue, Route 378 turns to the northeast, crossing the Old Bethlehem Pike soon after. After crossing Saucon Valley Road, the highway leaves the residential area for a stretch of long fields and intersecting with the nearby Center Valley Parkway, an arterial boulevard. After that, the highway crosses under the four lanes of Interstate 78 and parallels the Old Philadelphia Pike into the community of Seidersville. Route 378 through Seidersville is very residential, heading northwestward as a four lane arterial known as Wyandotte Street until leaving the University Heights area near Holy Ghost Cemetery. Route 378 continues into the city of Bethlehem, where it turns northward and is called Wyandotte Street. In the center of the city, Route 378 intersects with the western terminus of Route 412 (Broadway). Route 378 continues northward through Polanski Park and crosses a Norfolk Southern railroad line before crossing the Lehigh River on the Hill to Hill Bridge.[1]

Route 378 at the interchange with Eighth Avenue in Bethlehem

Route 378 heads northward along the Hill to Hill Bridge and crosses over West Lehigh Street and intersects with the off-ramp to Main Street in Bethlehem. There was formerly a ramp to 2nd Avenue, but that has been closed and is only used by pedestrians. After this interchange, Route 378 becomes a freeway and is named the Fred B. Rooney Highway. The highway continues northward, crossing under West Broad Street and only the southbound lanes interchange with North Street, which leads to Center City and Third Avenue. The freeway continues northward, crossing over and receiving an on-ramp from Union Boulevard and turning to the northwest, and interchanges with Eighth Avenue at Interchange 2E and Interchange 2W northbound. Route 378 turns westward through Bethlehem, paralleling Union Boulevard and crossing under Fourteenth Avenue. The route then turns northward, crossing under a rail line and Eaton Avenue and passing the Hal Fenicle Memorial Park. Route 378 continues northbound, interchanging with and crossing under Catasauqua Road. After passing southwestward of Lehigh Valley Hospital at Muhlenberg, the freeway enters an interchange with U.S. Route 22 (the Lehigh Valley Thruway), Route 378 northbound traffic is directed onto U.S. Route 22 westbound.[1]

History[edit]

Allentown-Bethlehem map from 1955, Route 378 is the road heading into Bethlehem

The at-grade portion of Route 378 south of Bethlehem was originally designated in the 1928 numbering as an alignment of Pennsylvania Route 12, a route crossing through Northampton and Monroe Counties. The alignment of Route 12 used the alignment of current-day Route 378, Route 512, and Route 33 from Center Valley to the community of Bartonsville, where Route 33 terminates. In 1961, Route 12 was decommissioned in favor of Route 191, a 90-mile-long (140 km) highway from Center Valley to the New York state line on the Delaware River.[2] In 1974, however, as part of the decommissioning of Interstate 378, Route 191 had its southern terminus moved to U.S. Route 22 in Brodhead.[3]

The current alignment of Route 378 was first constructed from West Broad Street in Bethlehem to the current interchange with the Lehigh Valley Thruway. As part of the Interstate Highway System, the Lehigh Valley Thruway was cosigned as the alignment of Interstate 78. Upon completion of the freeway in 1968, the new highway was designated Interstate 378, a spur off of Interstate  78.[4] However, in 1971, as Interstate 78 was realigned to a new bypass to the south of Bethlehem, Interstate 378 was decommissioned and replaced with the alignment of State Route 378.[5]

Route 378 crossing the Hill to Hill Bridge in Bethlehem

Since completion, Route 378 has undergone little major change, but the highway has undergone several rehabilitations. The Hill to Hill Bridge received a minor fire during reconstruction of the bridge, when a piece of equipment had its motor catch fire on April 13, 2009, when the bridge was undergoing re-painting.[6] The bridge repainting was completed on May 15, 2009, after the closing of a bridge and was re-opened later due to rainfall in the area.[7] On September 23, 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced plans and designs for an upgrade and redesign of Route 378 through Bethlehem at its interchange with West Third Street, although this met public criticism. Part of the project, construction of a new ramp from Wyandotte Street to West Third Street, was completed in September 2011. Completion of the widening of West Third Street and Route 412 was completed later in 2011. The $5.1 million project will also include a widening of Route 412 between Exit 67 on Interstate 78 and Daly Avenue in Bethlehem to two lanes in each direction.[8] On November 21, 2009, the project was given funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed by president Barack Obama in 2009. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation received $1 billion worth of funding from the act.[9]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile km Exit Destinations Notes
Lehigh Upper Saucon Township 0.0 0.0 PA 309 – Quakertown, Allentown
Northampton Bethlehem PA 412 south (Broadway)
5.7 9.2 To PA 412 south to I-78 — Third Street
Lehigh South end of freeway section
6.1 9.8 4 Main Street Northbound exit only
6.5 10.5 3 Center City (Third Avenue) Southbound only, to Historic Bethlehem
6.6 10.6 3 West Union Boulevard Northbound entrance only
7.4 11.9 2 Eighth Avenue Signed as 2E and 2W northbound
9.0 14.5 1 Catasauqua Road Southbound only, access to Schoenersville Road
9.4 15.1 US 22 – Allentown, Easton / Schoenersville Road Access to Schoenersville Road via C/D road of US 22 east
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Microsoft. "Overview map of Pennsylvania Route 378". Bing Maps (Map). Cartography by Nokia. http://www.bing.com/maps/#JmNwPTQwLjU4NzY4NzM4MDYxMTl+LTc1LjM5OTA1NDU4Njg4NzM2Jmx2bD0xMSZzdHk9ciZydHA9cG9zLjQwLjY0NzE2Njg5NDY2NjExXy03NS40MTQzNzQ5MTM3MjA4OF9uZWFyJTIwUmFtcCUyQyUyMEJldGhsZWhlbSUyQyUyMFBlbm5zeWx2YW5pYSUyMDE4MDE3JTJDJTIwVW5pdGVkJTIwU3RhdGVzX19fYV9+cG9zLjQwLjUyODEwNTc5NTM4MzQ1Xy03NS4zOTM5ODg1NjQ2MTA0OF9fX19hXyZydG9wPTB+MH4wfg==. Retrieved 11 March 2010.
  2. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1961). Pennsylvania (Map). Cartography by Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1961 ed.). Allentown inset.
  3. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1974). Pennsylvania (Map). Cartography by Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1974 ed.). Allentown inset.
  4. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1968). Pennsylvania (Map). Cartography by Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1968 ed.). Allentown, Pennsylvania inset. http://www.pahighways.com/graphics/maps/I378map.jpg.
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1971). Pennsylvania (Map). Cartography by Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1971 ed.). Allentown inset.
  6. ^ Young, Alyssa (April 13, 2009). "Route 378 re-opens after fire on Hill-to-Hill bridge". The Express-Times (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: PennLive LLC). Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  7. ^ Young, Alyssa (May 15, 2009). "Reopening of Hill-to-Hill Bridge in Bethlehem delayed due to rain". The Express-Times (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: PennLive LLC). Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Olanoff, Lynn (September 23, 2009). "Pennsylvania Department of Transportation unveils plans for Route 378 and Route 412 in Bethlehem". The Express Times (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: PennLive LLC). Retrieved 11 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Petty, Precious (November 21, 2009). "Route 378 upgrade in Bethlehem gets $5.1 million stimulus". The Express-Times (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: PennLive LLC). Retrieved 11 March 2010. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing

  • Kitsko, Jeffrey J. (2010). "PA 378". Pennsylvania Highways. pp. 350–400. Retrieved 11 March 2010.