I-80 Vs I-76 Pennsylvania: Which One Is the Best Pennsylvania Interstate?

There are two routes to choose from while crossing through Pennsylvania state. They are the i-76 and the i-80. And as you’ve to go through a long journey, choosing the perfect route is really important.

So, i-80 vs i-76 Pennsylvania, which route should you take?

The i-76 is way older than i-80. You might have to face some trouble with i-80 during the winter. But the rest of the time it’s way better than i-76. As i-76 uneven roads and wrong bankings and the overall effect of age. Though i-76 does offer a more scenic and historical ride through Pennsylvania.

Well, now that you know some facts about the routes, let’s go through a detailed article. That will give us a more precise idea of taking a calculated decision.

i-80 Vs i-76: Why Compare Between These Two?

If you’re searching for the best routes through Pennsylvania, there are two main ways to go. And they are the i-80 and the i-76.

They both go through Pennsylvania but offer completely different experiences.

Source: laramielive.com

So i-76 or i-80?  Let’s check out a quick comparison to draw a picture of the differences between them.

i-80 vs i-76: Head To Head Comparison 

Unlike choosing a cross country route to avoid snow, choosing roads that go through Pennsylvania is relatively easier. There are some factors that you need to consider while selecting your desired route. Some of the grounds of comparison has been described below:

Ground Of Comparisoni-80i-76
Opening year19861940
Covered StatesOhio, Pennsylvania, New JerseyCalifornia, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey
Scenic ViewsMostly mountains and natureHistorical sites alongside mountains and greenery
Length Through Pennsylvania500.6km579.5km
TrafficExperiences less trafficSlightly more congestion
SafetyLess frequent patrols and emergency phone boothsFrequent patrols and emergency phone booths every 5-mile
Number of Exits Through Pennsylvania5857
Speed Limit65 mph50 mph
TollToll-freeAround $130

Now let’s get down to a detailed discussion. And see how they could affect your planning.

What Type Of Vehicle Should You Take?

The i-76 is quite an old road with potholes and construction sites. So a car with a good suspension system would be comfortable down the i-76.

Taking the i-80, you might face whiteouts & deer crossing the road. In these scenarios, tires with good traction and firm gripping brakes could come in handy. 

Total Time to Travel & Condition of the Road

Distance is an essential factors you should consider when choosing a route. Condition of the road and overall experience also matters.

So let’s look at those factors and compare the two routes.

Total Distance

The i-76 and the i-80 both went through Pennsylvania. The total distance of these two routes through Pennsylvania is quite close. For i-76 it’s 579.5 km. 

Cities the i-76 passes are Pittsburgh, New Stanton, Breezewood, Harrisburg, Reading, Valley Forge, Philadelphia, Ohio, Akron, Youngstown, Colorado, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, Denver, Fort Morgan & Sterling

But how long is i-80 in Pennsylvania

The I-80 is nearly 500.6 km long. The cities touched by it are San Francisco CA, Oakland CA, Sacramento CA, Reno, NV, Salt Lake City, UT, Cheyenne, WY, Omaha, NE, Des Moines IA, Gary IN, Toledo OH

Source: thesfnews.com


Traffic can affect your schedule pretty badly. 

Well, the i-76 is more congested in places than the i-80. Mainly the i-76 is an old road with a lot of curves and bends. 

That’s due to the fact that age has started to take its toll. Such isn’t noticeable when differentiating between The i-10 and i-40. As they were both inaugurated in the same year.

Ferries & Tunnels

The i-76 and i-80 are both totally continuous roads without ferries.

But they both have tunnels on their way. The i-76 or pa turnpike has 4 tunnels which are all quite historical and worthy of visiting.

On the other hand, the i-80 has two tunnels —The Calin tunnel and the Green river Twin tunnels.

Restrictions to Remember

The main restrictions that you’ll face is a speed limit. On i–80 the speed limit is 65 miles per hour. And in the Pennsylvania part of the i-76, the speed limit is 50 miles per hour.

Carrying hazardous chemicals on I-80 is restricted.

Weather Conditions

During summer or rainy seasons both of these routes are quite the same.

But during winter the i-80 Pennsylvania road conditions are bad due to whiteouts.

So in winter, you should avoid i-80. But at other times, i-80 gives a smoother experience than i–76.

Toll Stations

The i-76 is an expensive toll road. There are electronic toll plazas throughout the road. 

But you can pay them beforehand and get some discounts using EZ-pass. This is similar to the ones in Louisville and Lexington.

On the other hand, i-80 has no toll booths and it is completely free to travel on. So if you want to avoid toll roads, this is the one for you. Even if you choose to go through the i-76, you can avoid tolls with the help of Google Maps.

Source: interstate-guide.com


Choosing a route with more amenities is a no-brainer. Who got it better?

Motels & Gas Stations

In the case of amenities, i-76 has the upper hand due to its age.

The i-76 has 15 service plazas just beside the road that you can use to refuel and restock on supplies. And i-76 has a lot of exits near towns and motels.

Speaking of gas stations, i-80 has 137 gas stations throughout the route. On the other hand, the PA turnpike has nearly 259 gas stations. 

Which Counties Does It Go Through?

These two different routes connect different counties on their path. You need to choose your route according to your stoppage.

The i-76 runs through Pennsylvania, goes through Lawrence, Beaver, Butler, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Somerset, Bedford, Fulton, Franklin, Cumberland, York, Dauphin, Lebanon, Lancaster, Berks, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks counties.

And the i–80 touches Mercer, Venango, Butler, Clarion, Jefferson, Clearfield, Centre, Clinton, Union, Northumberland, Columbia, Luzerne, Carbon, and Monroe counties.

Travel Expenses 

Well, i-76 is a toll road. And there are digital toll booths on specific parts of the road. And it is one of the most expensive toll roads in the world.

The total travel from one end to the other through the pa turnpike will cost you nearly 112 dollars.

But is i-80 a toll road in Pennsylvania? No, it isn’t. That alone can make it the best route through Pennsylvania.

Route Aesthetics

If you are traveling far, then a route with good scenery is sure to lift your mood. And while deciding your route, this can play an important role as well.

Scenic View Or Urban?

Both i-80 and i-76 offer scenic views. They don’t go through cities and busy sections so the urban view can’t be seen using these routes.

The i-76 is pretty famous for its scenic views. It’s also one of America’s oldest highways so there are lots of historical sites as well. I-80 also has pretty mountainous views and tunnels to enjoy.

Journey from Florida to Pennsylvania through the i-76 is a much longer drive. But it has a lot of scenic views that you can enjoy while driving.

Landmark & Monuments

On PA turnpike, along the road in Harrisburg, you can visit the state museum of Pennsylvania to learn about its history. The second floor has an entire floor dedicated to the Pennsylvania turnpike.

Also, you can learn about old-fashioned locomotives at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton. 

If you choose the i-80 there are very picturesque sites as well. Just north of the i-80 in Venango country, you can find Freedom falls.

And if you want to experience something different and fun, you can visit Doolittle Station. Which is located 5 minutes from the US Route 219 exit of i-80 near DuBois.

Here you get a wonderful collection of restaurants, museums, and a bed and breakfast all housed in historic train cars.

Which One To Choose For Better Social Media Effect?

The i-76 might get an upper hand here. Because it’s full of both scenic and historic sites.

This allows for more interesting social media posts and check-ins.

Source: phillyvoice.com

Emergency Services

Emergencies can happen anywhere. But which route will give you the most relief when you do fall into one? This is a legitimate concern while traveling.

Hospitals, Police Station & Safety

In case of an emergency, the accessibility to help is an important factor. And in this scenario, i-76 has the upper hand.

On the pa turnpike, the road is patrolled often by police cars. There are also emergency telephones nearly every 5 miles. 

The i-76 and i-80 Pennsylvania exit list is quite big with most of them having hospitals near. The i-76 gives a bit more protection and relief. 

Which Route is the Best?

Both the i-76 and the i-80 have their pros and cons. But comparing them side by side, it’s not hard to make a decision.

The important factors to keep in mind while choosing a route are comfort, expense, and time. Flying with a good airline is easier, You can simply choose between Interjet and Aeromexico and land a flight for easier travel.

Now, let’s get to the point we’re all waiting for:

Is i-80 better than i-76?

If you have to make a choice, i-80 is better than the i-76 by miles. Not only does it have a better driving surface, but it also offers other better facilities. You also get to enjoy a slackened speed limit and an extra exit point as well.

But if the scenic view is your main concern, we recommend you try the i-76 route.

So our advice is, other than winter, i-80 is the smartest choice. But if you want to experience the history of the first American road, you can go down i-76 anytime.


Which Is the Fastest Interstate in the US?

State highway 130 just might be the fastest route in the US. The toll area of the road has speed limits of 80 posted. And in a certain 41-mile stretch the speed limit reaches up to 85 miles per hour.

Which Is the Least Expensive Toll Road in the US?

Situated in Virginia, the Boulevard Bridge is the least tolled road in the US. The toll on this road is just 0.35 dollars. Which is incredibly inexpensive next to i-76, which is the highest tolled road.

How Many States in the US Has No Toll Roads?

About 17 states in the US have no toll roads. The states that have no toll roads, are Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


Well, that’s all you need to know about i-80 vs i-76 Pennsylvania. Hope you have a safe and sound trip.

Thanks to Google Maps, you can now make better decisions and choose the perfect route for your destination. It can also help you avoid routes that can charge you a toll fee!

Don’t forget to come back for more information traveler!

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