I-99/US 220/US 322 Construction: Mount Nittany Expressway/Park Avenue Interchange

January-February 2002 Photos by Timothy Reichard

The Westbound Approach on US 322
The I-99 Bridges over US 322 and Park Avenue
The Eastbound Approach on US 322


The Westbound Approach on US 322

 

We begin on the day after a State College snowfall in January 2002. We enter the State College Bypass (US 322) from an on-ramp from PA 26, which meets the expressway at an interchange just east of the new Park Avenue Interchange. The big green sign shows a PA 322 shield goof while a US 322 shield stands on the right. The orange construction signs show that the Park Avenue interchange is not far away. In the distance, one can make out some of the new ramps, and the brown horizontal line from center to left are the new I-99 bridges. A tarp was placed over the second big green sign because that portion of the exit is not complete. Photo shot 1/30/02.

 

A few days later, the tarp over the right sign had blown away. The sign shows that US 220 will be rerouted from its Martha Furnace-Unionville-Milesburg routing to the new I-99 alignment here. Photo shot 2/03/02.

 

A closer shot of the photo shows the US 220 shield placed off center. While the PA shield for route 322 is wrong, this US 220 shield alignment is intended. When the new expressway is complete from this interchange to the PA 26 interchange on the Bellefonte bypass later in 2002, US 220 will be rerouted onto current US 322 to meet this interchange and then follow the new expressway. I-99 will eventually join US 220 and US 322 at this interchange, and the sign has left room for an I-99 sign to be added after the Bald Eagle-to-State College Bypass segment of the interstate is completed in ~2006. The US 220 signs should not be displayed at this time, and within a week, they were all covered up, like the US 220 on the left big green sign in this photo. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

The next overhead sign gantry shows another identical sign for the Future US 220/Future I-99 northbound exit. The ramp from US 322 here to the new US 220 is complete but closed. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

Before the I-99 interchange was begun, US 322 met Park Avenue at a diamond interchange (the Penn State University exit). All four ramps have been reconstructed, completed, and opened, but only one was moved—this one, which takes US 322 westbound traffic onto Park Avenue. The US 220/I-99 north exit ramp shown in the previous photo took the place of the old Park Avenue ramp, which has now been moved to the west side of Park Avenue. The new (but still incomplete) US 220/I-99 bridges curve forward from the right in this photo over US 322 and the Park Avenue ramp. Photo shot 1/30/02.

 

Here is a closer view of the new bridges where the Park Avenue exit ramp splits from the mainline. The beams are all in place, but the decks are not complete. Photo shot 1/30/01.

 

This photo was taken upon entering US 322 westbound from the Park Avenue exit. The rightmost lane is the on-ramp from Park Avenue. The ramp merges first with the two lanes of mainline US 322. Then mainline US 322 reduces to one lane while merging with US 220/I-99 (far left in the photo, where there is still some unpaved ground between US 220/I-99 and US 322). Then the remaining US 322 lane merges, leaving two lanes of westbound US 322/US 220/I-99. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

Just ahead, when the five lanes (2 US 220/I-99 + 2 US 322 + 1 Park Avenue ramp) are down to three, the first US 220 sign was posted in late July 2001. Within a month, the US 220 shield was flipped around so that traffic here sees its blank back face. Photo shot 8/4/01.

 


The US 220/I-99 Bridges over US 322 and Park Avenue

 

The US 220/I-99 bridges over US 322 and Park Avenue are two of the last major parts of the interchange to be constructed. The view here is from the end of the ramp from US 322 westbound to Park Avenue. All of the beams are in place, but most of the bridge decks have not been poured. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

Here is the view from the end of the ramp from US 322 eastbound to Park Avenue, which is the newly widened highway on the ground here. Five of the six bridges are visible in the photo. The closest bridge carries US 322 eastbound traffic, while westbound traffic follows the fourth closest bridge (barely visible, count the bridge abutments from right to left to pick it out). The two bridges in the middle used to carry US 322 before the I-99/US 220 construction began. These bridges were demolished during the week of March 4-8, 2002. Behind and above these four bridges (barely visible in this photo) is one of the US 220/I-99 bridges. The new US 322 bridges were separated more than the old bridges so that I-99/US 220 could merge from the median of US 322. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

Heading forward until right below the Park Avenue ramp bridge, the I-99 bridges are now visible. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

The ends of the US 220/I-99 bridges are best visible here from eastbound US 322. The two bridges go over US 322 westbound and meet the ground in the median between the US 322 eastbound and westbound lanes. Unfortunately, the barrier blocks part of this view, which does show the end of the northbound US 220/I-99 bridge and one of the first sections of the southbound bridge. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

A few seconds later, traveling on US 322 eastbound, the bridges are seen veering off to the north over the westbound lanes. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

A yet a few seconds later, the north end of the bridges can be seen. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

From the other side of the bridges and shot from below, the view shows the new road from Park Avenue to Innovation Park. The US 220/I-99 bridges are dimly visible, stretching from the horizon line in the center to the left of the photo. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 


The Eastbound Approach on US 322

 

From about one mile to the west, road construction signs for the interchange construction are visible on US 322 eastbound. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

A big new big green sign appeared in late December when construction wound down for the winter. This sign shows the second new Future I-99 exit to be numbered. Welcome to Exit 73, the Future US 220/Future I-99 and US 322 split. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

A close up view shows the previous (but nearly identical) sign in more detail. US 322 was the mainline at this interchange (which is really a I-99/US 220/US 322 interchange on top of a US 322/Park Avenue interchange), but US 220/I-99 will become the mainline, with the US 322 expressway serving as the exiting road. The road widens to four lanes, two for each expressway at the split. The US 220 and US 322 signs have been covered up on the big green sign, and space is left for a future I-99 shield addition. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 

Shortly after the US 220/I-99 split off from US 322, which is the mainline on the left in this photo, the Park Avenue exit ramp splits off. Photo shot 2/3/02.

 


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