I-99/US 220/US 322 Construction: US 322 Mainline at the I-99/US 220/Park Avenue Interchange

July 14, 2002 Photos by Timothy Reichard

Westbound

Some big green signs were installed over Winter 2001-2002 and have not changed since then, or were covered up. I'll date these photos below, and the undated ones are from July 2002.

 

Heading westbound on US 322, the second set of signs showing I-99/US 220 are here at the end of the onramp from PA 26. The keystone shield is wrong for 322 on the big green sign, which should have the same shield type as US 220, as it does on the right side of the road. The right sign should be covered up because the interchange was not yet complete. Photo shot 2/3/02.

The first set of I-99/US 220 signs are just east of the PA 26 interchange and on the same overhead sign gantry as the PA 26 exit sign. Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of this one, since I discovered it later.

 

Next, the Park Avenue exit is signed for Innovation Park and Penn State University, along with another sign for the I-99/US 220 exit, which is 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.

 

The bridges cross over US 322 westbound to join in the median. I-99/US 220 southbound is above, and the onramp from Park Avenue is about to merge from the right.

 

I-99/US 220 (top left), US 322 (left two ground lanes), and the onramp from Park Avenue (right lane) all merge within a half mile. That is, 5 lanes become 2.

 

At the end of the descent, I-99/US 220 meets US 322 after the Park Avenue onramp ends.

 

Now down to the 4 lanes, two more end, one at a time, from the right. Ahead in the distance, the construction zone ended, and I-99/US 220/US 322 continue as the 4-lane Mount Nittany Expressway.

 

Halfway through the 5-lanes-to-2 merger, US 220/US 322 is signed with a typical flipped US 220 shield.

 

With the I-99/US 220 construction came the control city of Altoona. Altoona was typically shown on signs on US 220 (Port Matilda to Milesburg), but in late 2002, US 220 will be rerouted here, and with it, Altoona signs.

 

Past the construction zone, the next exit is for Toftrees and Woodycrest. A large, new commercial complex has been built at this exit in anticipation of I-99.

 

The next (partial) interchange is for Valley Vista Drive, which is the last exit to reach Business US 322.

 


Eastbound

Heading back to the east, another view of the Toftrees/Woodycrest diamond interchange shows the construction signs beginning. There is no exit for Valley Vista Drive in this direction—there is an Atherton Street/Business US 322 exit (another partial interchange) for that purpose.

 

The first hint of the I-99/US 220/US 322 split is this sign, pointing Lewistown traffic to use US 322 and the eastern half of the Mount Nittany Expressway.

 

A new tourist center has been built near Penn State's Beaver Stadium, which can be reached via Park Avenue southbound.

 

Penn State's Research Park is accessible via Park Avenue northbound and has recently been renamed Innovation Park (to be spiffier?).

 

US 322 was the mainline at the Park Avenue interchange (which is now really a I-99/US 220/US 322 interchange on top of a US 322/Park Avenue interchange), but I-99/US 220 has 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.

 

More signs have appeared at this interchange during the Spring 2002. The big green sign has split into two, foreshadowing what is to come.

 

On 5-8 Saturdays of the autumn and winter, Beaver Stadium becomes the third most populous place in Pennsylvania. The stadium and the popular concert arena, the Bryce Jordan Center, deserve their own sign.

 

I-99/US 220 have begun to split away at this point, and the next exit is immediately to Park Avenue to the right.

 

The offramp to Park Avenue veers off to the right, and PA 26 is immediately signed as the next exit, just one mile away. The Park Avenue and College Avenue (PA 26) exits serve the State College area.

 

Yellow EXIT ONLY signs are new since US 322 was reconstructed. US 322 now has six lanes between PA 26 and the Park Avenue interchanges; it used to have four.

 

PA 26 is the main route to I-80 for US 322 in both directions. (Well, cars from the east could take PA 144, but trucks strictly cannot, and would not want to—PA 144 traverses a very windy and steep mountain, up and down, a trucker's nightmare). One purpose of I-99/US 220 north of State College is to take through traffic off the very-congested PA 26. This TO I-80 shield may disappear when I-99/US 220 is opened.

 

 


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