Pennsylvania Route 73

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PA Route 73 marker

PA Route 73
Route information
Maintained by PennDOT
Length: 62.51 mi[3] (100.60 km)
Existed: 1928[1][2] – present
Major junctions
West end: PA 61 in Leesport
  US 222 in Maiden Creek
PA 100 in Boyertown
US 202 in Blue Bell
PA 309 in Springfield
US 1 in Philadelphia
East end: Route 73 in Philadelphia
Counties: Berks, Montgomery, Philadelphia
Highway system
PA 72 PA 74

Pennsylvania Route 73 (PA 73) is a 62.51 miles (100.60 km) long east–west state highway in southeastern Pennsylvania. It runs from Pennsylvania Route 61 in Leesport to the New Jersey state line on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge in Philadelphia, where it continues as New Jersey Route 73.

Predating the Interstate and U.S. Highway Systems, the Skippack Pike, a modern section of the route, served as the primary connector between Philadelphia and the northwest suburbs.

Route description[edit]

Route 73 in Berks County, near its western terminus

PA 73 begins at an intersection with Pennsylvania Route 61 in Leesport, north of Reading. It runs east along the shore of Lake Ontelaunee, intersecting U.S. Route 222 in Maiden Creek. Southeast of Maiden Creek, the route runs southeast, traversing a small mountainous region of the county. PA 73 intersects with Pennsylvania Route 12 near Pricetown and Pennsylvania Route 662 in Oley. It enters Boyertown as Philadelphia Avenue, meeting the eastern terminus of Pennsylvania Route 562 in the middle of town, and entering Montgomery County at the Boyertown-Gilbertsville border.[4][5][6]

PA 73 westbound in Whitpain Township past Butler Pike.

East of the county border, PA 73 interchanges with Pennsylvania Route 100, then continues southeast through Gilbertsville. In contrast to the mountainous Berks County terrain of 73, the elevation in Montgomery is much less, ranging from 100 feet (30 m) to 350 feet (106 m) above sea level. It then heads east as Big Road, where Pennsylvania Route 663 briefly joins the route from the south before leaving again on its own alignment. PA 73 continues southeast through Frederick and Zieglerville, where it joins with Pennsylvania Route 29 to head south on Gravel Pike, paralleling the Perkiomen Creek and Perkiomen Trail. The road turns into Main Street through central Schwenksville. PA 73 leaves for its own alignment, known as Skippack Pike, south of Schwenksville, crossing the Skippack Creek before heading southeast once again, entering the outer suburbs of Philadelphia.[7]

The route continues past Graterford Prison,[8] entering central Skippack, where it meets Pennsylvania Route 113. It briefly crosses Evansburg State Park, intersecting Bustard Road which provides access to Interstate 476 before heading through Worcester Township, where it intersects Pennsylvania Route 363. It passes under Interstate 476 without a direct interchange before entering Blue Bell, where it intersects with U.S. Route 202. It continues southeast through Blue Bell, passing Fort Washington State Park before crossing the Wissahickon Creek, and turning south onto Bethlehem Pike for a brief distance before again turning east onto Church Road.[9]

Cottman (PA-73) and Frankford Avenues, a central location in Northeast Philadelphia

PA 73 continues east through the densely populated northern Philadelphia suburbs, interchanging with Pennsylvania Route 309 (Fort Washington Expressway) in Springfield, and with Pennsylvania Route 152 in Glenside. It briefly turns northwest onto Washington Lane before heading southeast again onto Township Line Road, which forms the boundary between Cheltenham and Abington townships. It intersects with Pennsylvania Route 611 before entering the city of Philadelphia.[10][11]

The road continues as Cottman Avenue through Northeast Philadelphia, meeting Pennsylvania Route 232 at an intersection locally known as the Five Points.[12] Passing through the Lawncrest and Rhawnhurst neighborhoods, it intersects Roosevelt Boulevard (US 1) at a massive interchange near Pennypack Park with PA 73 intersecting the outer six lanes of the Boulevard while the inner six pass under Cottman. It continues through the Mayfair neighborhood, meeting U.S. Route 13 on Frankford Avenue. It then briefly operates as a one-way pair along Torresdale and Princeton Avenues and State Road and Cottman Avenue, before interchanging with Interstate 95 and turning southwest onto New State Road. This road turns into a traffic circle at the foot of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge; PA 73 traverses the circle and crosses the bridge into New Jersey, where it continues as New Jersey Route 73.[13][14]


Former Reading designation of Route 73.

The Skippack Pike, a portion of PA 73 between Skippack and Bethlehem Pike in Whitemarsh, dates back to 1713, when settlers in Skippack petitioned Philadelphia officials for a road to their community for purposes of hauling grain to the mill in Whitemarsh.[15] During the American Revolutionary War, George Washington's army suffered a defeat at the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777 and had to encamp along the Pike until October 8. The Americans later marched east on the road while preparing for a counterattack at the Battle of White Marsh.[16]

The Skippack Turnpike Company was incorporated in 1845 to construct a turnpike from Whitemarsh to Skippack but the project was abandoned after several efforts. In 1853, a second charter was granted and the turnpike was completed in 1855 near Worcester Township.[15]

When the state began maintenance over roads via the Sproul Road Bill (signed May 31, 1911),[17] the system did not include the direct ReadingPhiladelphia routes that PA 73 and U.S. Route 422 are today. PA 73 was adopted as Legislative Route 197, the main route that connected Philadelphia and its northwest suburbs. Legislative Routes paved the way for Pennsylvania's first Traffic Routes in 1924[18] and a new set of routes, including PA 73, that were added in the late 1920s.[19][20]

In the original 1928 routing, PA 73 deviated from its current route west of Manatawny to follow Hoch Road, Bertolet Mill Road, and Main Street in the hamlet of Oley. The route then turned south to leave the hamlet on what is now Friedensburg Road to Reading and continued south along the current Pennsylvania Route 625 routing to end at Pennsylvania Route 23 near Blue Ball. The highway entered the city of Reading from the south as the New Holland Road, Lancaster Avenue and Bingaman Street into downtown Reading, concurrent with U.S. Routes 122 and 222. North of the Schuylkill River crossing, PA 73 turned east to overlap U.S. Route 422 along Perkiomen Avenue. East of the city in Mount Penn, PA 73 followed Friedensburg Road to Oley. The current segment from Oley to Leesport was designated as Pennsylvania Route 383.[21][22]

PA 73 originally ended at Roosevelt Boulevard (US 1) in Northeast Philadelphia. After the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge was built in 1929,[23] the eastern terminus was moved to its current location on the bridge at the New Jersey state line. It followed Cottman Avenue, Frankford Avenue, and Levick Street into the bridge.[24] By 1966, the western terminus was moved to its current location in Leesport.[25]

Major intersections[edit]

County Location Mile[3] km Destinations Notes
Berks Ontelaunee Township 0.00 0.00 PA 61 (Pottsville Pike) – Reading, Leesport, Pottsville
Maidencreek Township 2.7 4.3 US 222 (Allentown Pike) – Allentown, Reading
Ruscombmanor Township 6.63 10.67 PA 12 (Pricetown Road) – Pricetown, Reading
Oley Township 8.84 14.23 PA 662 north (Memorial Highway) – Fleetwood Western terminus of concurrency
10.51 16.91 PA 662 south (Memorial Highway) – Douglassville Eastern terminus of concurrency
Boyertown 20.21 32.52 PA 562 west (Reading Avenue) – St. Lawrence Eastern terminus of PA 562
Montgomery Douglass Township 21.17 34.07 PA 100 – Allentown, Pottstown Interchange
New Hanover Township 24.30 39.11 PA 663 south (North Charlotte Street) – Pottstown Western terminus of concurrency
24.54 39.49 PA 663 north (Layfield Road) – Pennsburg Eastern terminus of concurrency
Lower Frederick Township 30.16 48.54 PA 29 north (Gravel Pike) – Perkiomenville Roundabout, western terminus of concurrency
Perkiomen Township 32.41 52.16 PA 29 south (Gravel Pike) – Collegeville Eastern terminus of concurrency
Skippack Township 36.06 58.03 PA 113 (Bridge Road) – Harleysville, Rahns
Worcester Township 39.78 64.02 PA 363 (Valley Forge Road) – Lansdale, Fairview
Whitpain Township 43.58 70.14 US 202 (Dekalb Pike) – Doylestown, Norristown
Springfield Township 49.67 79.94 PA 309 (Fort Washington Expressway) – Montgomeryville, Philadelphia Interchange
Cheltenham Township 52.16 83.94 PA 152 (Limekiln Pike) – Edge Hill, Philadelphia
54.41 87.56 PA 611 (Old York Road) – Willow Grove, Philadelphia
Philadelphia Philadelphia 57.22 92.09 PA 232 (Oxford Avenue)
59.15 95.19 US 1 (Roosevelt Boulevard) Interchange
60.03 96.61 US 13 (Frankford Avenue)
61.04 98.23 I-95 (Delaware Expressway) – Trenton, Central Philadelphia, Chester Exit 30 (I-95)
Delaware River 62.51 100.60 Tacony-Palmyra Bridge
Burlington Palmyra 62.51 100.60 Route 73 south Continuation into New Jersey
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

PA 73 Alternate Truck[edit]

PA Route 73 Alternate Truck
Location: Oreland

Pennsylvania Route 73 Alternate Truck are truck routes of PA 73 that bypass a weight-restricted bridge over a branch of the Wissahickon Creek at the PA 309 interchange in Oreland, on which trucks over 36 tons and combination loads over 40 tons are prohibited. The eastbound alternate truck route follows PA 309 and Paper Mill Road. The westbound alternate truck route follows Paper Mill Road and Bethlehem Pike. There is also a PA 73 Alt. Truck for traffic from northbound PA 309 to access westbound PA 73, following PA 309 north from PA 73 to the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange, where it utilizes the cloverleaf ramps to return to southbound PA 309 and head south to the PA 73 exit. PA 73 Alt. Truck was signed in 2013.[26][27][28][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1927). Pennsylvania Highway Map (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  2. ^ Gulf Oil (1928). Pennsylvania Highway Map (Philadelphia Metro) (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  3. ^ a b Calculated using DeLorme Street Atlas USA 2007 software
  4. ^ United States Geological Survey. Topographic Map of Ruscombmannor Township (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  5. ^ Google Inc. "Route 73 in Berks County". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,+PA&ie=UTF8&ll=40.405131,-75.81562&spn=0.114508,0.346069&z=12&om=1. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  6. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Berks County Map (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  7. ^ USGS. Topographic Map of Montgomery County (Map). Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  8. ^ Google Inc. "Hybrid Map of Graterford Prison". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,-75.428181&spn=0.015299,0.029182&t=h&z=15&om=1. Retrieved 2007-11-26.
  9. ^ Google Inc. "Montgomery County routing of 73". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,+PA&ie=UTF8&ll=40.200904,-75.308533&spn=0.229709,0.692139&z=11&om=1. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  10. ^ Google Inc. "overview map of Philadelphia suburbs". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc.,+PA&ie=UTF8&ll=40.082143,-75.136871&spn=0.057528,0.173035&z=13&om=1. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  11. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Montgomery County Map (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  12. ^ Hall, Joan Houston (2002). Dictionary of American Regional English - Page 229. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-00884-7. 
  13. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Philadelphia Metropolitan Map (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  14. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Philadelphia City Map (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-06.
  15. ^ a b "Skippack Road History". Skippack Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  16. ^ Pennsylvania History - Page 47. 64, no. 4. Pennsylvania Historical Association. 
  17. ^ "Department of Highways". Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Retrieved 2007-06-25. 
  18. ^ "U.S. 22 - The William Penn Highway History - Pennsylvania's Named Highways". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  19. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways. 1912 Montgomery County Map (Map). Retrieved 2007-06-25.
  20. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways. 1911 state Map, showing the early state highways (Map). Retrieved 2007-06-25.
  21. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1930). Pennsylvania Highway Map (front side) (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  22. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1930). Pennsylvania Highway Map (back side) (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  23. ^ "National Bridge Inventory database". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 9 November 2007. 
  24. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1940). Pennsylvania Highway Map (back side) (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  25. ^ Pennsylvania Department of Highways (1964). Berks County Map (Sheet 1) (Map). Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  26. ^ Google Inc. "overview of eastbound Pennsylvania Route 73 Alternate Truck". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  27. ^ Google Inc. "overview of westbound Pennsylvania Route 73 Alternate Truck". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  28. ^ Google Inc. "overview of Pennsylvania Route 73 Alternate Truck from Pennsylvania Route 309". Google Maps (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
  29. ^ "Risk-Based Bridge Postings - State and Local Bridges". Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. October 8, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Route map: Google / Bing