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Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania

Among all the major interstate highways in Pennsylvania, Interstate 78 in the eastern part of the state is one of the shortest. The road actually starts in New York City at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel and makes its way west through Newark and New Jersey across the Delaware River to the Pennsylvania state line near Easton.

The road serves as a major artery through the Lehigh Valley and the cities of Allentown and Bethlehem. It cuts through northern Berks County with roads that connect to the city of Reading. It then travels through Lebanon and Dauphin counties before merging with Interstate 81 north of Harrisburg. The entire length of the road in PA is 77 miles.

O’Connor Law Offices Near I-76

The law offices of O’Connor Law have a strong presence along the I-78 corridor. The firm has offices in Allentown and Reading, two major cities that have exits off the highway.

Despite not being a cross state highway in either direction, Interstate 78 has its share of automobile, truck, motorcycle and tractor-trailer accidents. This is especially true during the peak rush hour times in the Lehigh Valley, Berks County and the Harrisburg area.

Snow and Ice on Interstate 78

Despite being a small highway in length, Intestate 78 has seen its share of accidents involving cars, motorcycle, tractor trailers and other types of vehicles over the years.

One of the most devastating in recent memory occurred on Wednesday, February 14, 2007 when a snow and ice storm hit eastern Pennsylvania that affected Interstate 78 and left many motorists stranded for hours. On that day, conditions began to deteriorate with seven inches of snow followed by three inches of ice.

Several tractor-trailers jack-knifed on the highway and a few smaller accidents occurred which blocked the westbound lanes of I-78 west of Allentown. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation estimated at one point that hundreds of tractor-trailers and passenger cars were stuck due to conditions. Many of these motorists were running out of fuel, or having their fuel freeze. More than 130 National Guardsmen began using Humvees and other vehicles around 9 p.m. to help control traffic, pass out food, blankets, and baby supplies and rescue motorists.

PennDOT crews began to block off parts of I-78 the next morning but more traffic continued to get into the gridlock because other entrances were still open. The Pennsylvania State Police did not close all of the ramps from Exit 19 to Exit 49 until around 5 p.m., more than 24 hours after the initial vehicles began to get stuck.

By 9 p.m. PennDOT said all motorists had been cleared off I-78, but there were still vehicles being towed off the Interstate. The storm and the problems it caused forced Governor Ed Rendell to declare a statewide disaster emergency which authorized state agencies to use all available resources and personnel to assist in relief. It took 150 employees with 141 pieces of equipment to clear the ice and snow off I-78 and other interstate highways like I-80, and I-81.

I-78 Stretch Closed for 10 Miles

A series of events involving a bus fire and a tractor-trailer accident closed a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 78 in Berks County for nearly in June of 2013. It all began with a fire on a Greyhound bus in the westbound lanes of I-78, at mile-marker 22, in Upper Bern Township, state police said. The fire created a lengthy traffic backup, causing three tractor trailers to crash at mile-marker 25.7, also in Upper Bern Township, shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Both lanes of I-78 West were closed between Route 183- Strausstown (Exit 19) and Route 61- Tilden Township (Exit 29) until about 3:30 p.m. while crews hauled away the wrecked vehicles and cleaned up a spill of between 40 and 50 gallons of diesel fuel. Many of the motorists who were stuck in the traffic backup stood outside of the vehicles while they waited for the highway to reopen.

Interstate 78 (Pennsylvania) Statistics for 2012

The length of Interstate 78 in Pennsylvania runs 75 miles. It is an east-west highway starting as a spinoff of Interstate 81 in Lebanon County and through to the Lehigh Valley near Easton where it crosses the bridge over the Delaware River into New Jersey and on to New York City.

PennDOT keeps records of accidents each year on each highway. Here is the breakdown of these statistics for I-78 in 2012.

Passenger Vehicle (Automobile, Small Truck, SUV, Van)

In 2012, Passenger vehicles were involved in 405 total crashes on Interstate 78. The statistics include the following: 41 angle crashes; 2 head on; 160 hit fixed object; 1 hit pedestrian; 24 non-collision; 39 other/unknown; 100 rear end; 0 sideswipe (opposite direction); 737 sideswipe (same direction).


In 2012, 8 motorcycles were involved in crashes on Interstate 78. The statistics include the following: 0 angle crash; 2 hit fixed object; 2 non-collision; 0 other/unknown; 4 rear end; 0 sideswipe (same direction).

Legally Intoxicated Driver

In 2012, there were 21 cases of legally intoxicated drivers arrested on Interstate 78. The statistics include the following: 2 angle crashes; 0 head on; 11 hit fixed object; 1 non-collision; 6 rear end; 0 sideswipe (opposite direction); 1 sideswipe (same direction).

Heavy Truck

In 2012, there were 144 crashes involving heavy trucks on Interstate 78. The statistics include the following; 24 angle crashes; 0 head on; 29 hit fixed object; 0 hit pedestrian; 14 non-collision; 5 other/unknown; 44 rear end; 0 rear to ear; 0 sideswipe (opposite direction) 28 sideswipe (same direction).

Distracted Driving

In 2012, there were 28 cases of distracted drivers getting into crashes on Interstate 78. The statistics include; 1 angle crashes; 13 hit fixed objects; 1 non-collision; 11 rear end; 2 sideswipe (same direction).

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