Interstate 279

Interstate 279 (I-279), locally referred to as Parkway North, is a northsouth Interstate Highway spur that lies entirely within Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Its southern end is at Interstate 376 at the Fort Pitt Bridge in Pittsburgh, and the north end is in Franklin Park at Interstate 79. It primarily serves at the main access route between Pittsburgh and its northern suburbs.

Interstate 279
Parkway North
I-279 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-79
Maintained by PennDOT
Length13.20 mi[1] (21.24 km)
ExistedOctober 2, 1972[2]–present
Major junctions
South end I-376 / US 22 / US 30 in Pittsburgh
  I-579 / PA 28 / PA 65 in Pittsburgh

US 19 Truck in Pittsburgh
US 19 in Ross Township
North end I-79 in Franklin Park
Highway system
PA 278I280

Route description

The southern terminus of I-279 is at I-376 in downtown Pittsburgh. It runs concurrently with U.S. Route 19 Truck from its southern terminus to exit 4. (US Route 19 Truck continues on Interstate 376 west.) I-279 crosses the Fort Duquesne Bridge over the Allegheny River, providing easy access to Heinz Field and PNC Park. Interstate 579 intersects I-279, but is only accessible by southbound traffic; likewise, traffic from I-579 can only head northbound on I-279 by the Interstate 279 Interchange. I-279 features two reversible high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. The HOV lanes end at exit 5, which is an interchange with US 19. The road becomes more suburban and rural as it continues to head north. It has two additional interchanges, Bellevue/West View and Camp Horne Road. After Camp Horne Road, there are no exits until its terminus five miles later. The interstate terminates at its parent, Interstate 79. Like the interchange with I-579, this is also a partial interchange. Traffic on I-279 is only permitted to exit northbound on I-79, while only traffic heading southbound on I-79 can exit on to I-279 south.

The section from exit 7A to exit 8B is also known as the North Shore Expressway.[3][4]


Interstate 279 was first proposed in 1958, to run along what is now I-79 between the current I-376 in Carnegie and the current I-279 in Franklin Park. On October 2, 1972, its route was swapped with I-79, putting I-279 onto its current route, although only the downtown portion and the Fort Duquesne Bridge were built at the time.[2]

In 1973, the designation was extended from downtown over Parkway West (what is now I-376) to I-79.[5] This section became part of I-376 in 2009, and the I-279 signs were taken down there.[6]

I-279 from Fort Duquesne Bridge to its current northern terminus in Franklin Park was approved on June 4, 1975 but constructed from 1985 to 1989, opening in its entirety with a Governor Casey ribbon cutting on September 16, 1989.[7] From 1997 to 2003, various ramps, the Fort Pitt Bridge, and nearby tunnels were reconstructed. A direct connection from I-279 south to I-376 east was opened in 2002.[8]

A tragedy occurred on the reversible HOV lanes in 1995 when a negligent highway worker failed to close the outbound gates, leading to a head-on collision that killed six. In 2006, to help prevent a repeat of this incident, automatic "fast acting gates" were activated at the southern entrances to these HOV lanes in downtown Pittsburgh.[9]

Unearthed cemetery

During the last phases of construction of I-279 in 1987, a long-forgotten cemetery dating from the 19th century was unearthed near the site of the current I-279/I-579 split. Archaeologists spent four months exhuming the graves for cultural studies at the Smithsonian Institution, significantly putting PennDOT behind schedule to finish construction. It was determined that the graves belonged to Swiss and German immigrants that were members of a local church located next door to the cemetery in what was then Allegheny City, with 727 graves buried at the one-half acre (20 a) site between 1833 and 1861. The graves were forgotten about by 1911 when the church did an addition to the building and had the foundation unintentionally go through about fifteen graves, with the churchyard housing the cemetery later becoming a parking lot in 1950. Aside from a pair of stillborn twins, none of the graves were identified, and archaeologists were unable to find any living descendants due to the obscurity of the cemetery. The remains were reburied with one marker at the church's current cemetery in the Troy Hill section of Pittsburgh in 2003 after the Smithsonian Institution finished studying them; the congregation itself disbanded in 1984 after PennDOT bought the church property via eminent domain for I-279 and only had 21 members at that point. Today, it is the largest number of 19th century graves (Native American graves notwithstanding) ever studied archaeologically in America.[10][11]

Exit list

The entire route is in Allegheny County. [12]

Location[12]mi[13]kmOld exitNew exit[14]DestinationsNotes
Pittsburgh0.0000.000 To I-376 east Downtown Pittsburgh, Monroeville
I-376 west Fort Pitt Bridge, Pittsburgh International Airport
Exit 70C on I-376, southern terminus of I-279
0.3130.5041AConvention Center, Strip District
Fort Duquesne Boulevard
Southbound left exit and northbound entrance
Fort Duquesne Bridge over the Allegheny River
1BNorth ShoreLeft exit northbound; no northbound entrance; southern end of HOV lane
1C US 19 (Ohio River Boulevard) / PA 65 northLeft exit and entrance northbound; US 19 only appears on northbound signage
1.0201.6421D PA 28 north / Chestnut Street / Ohio Street EtnaNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
1.0981.7679th StreetSouthbound left exit and northbound entrance
1.2371.991 I-279 southSouthbound exit only
1.6772.699PPG Paints ArenaSouthbound left exit and northbound entrance
1.8452.9692A I-579 south Veterans BridgeNorthern terminus of I-579; southbound exit and northbound entrance
1.9103.0742B To PA 28 / East Ohio StreetSouthbound exit and northbound entrance. Exit originally designated as East Street until December 2017
2.9034.6723Hazlett StreetNorthbound exit and entrance
3.8346.1704East StreetSouthbound exit and entrance. Exit originally designated as Venture Street until December 2017
US 19 Truck north (McKnight Road) / Evergreen Road
Northern end of concurrency with US 19 Truck; northbound exit and southbound entrance
HOV: northbound exit and southbound left entrance
Ross Township5.4698.8025 US 19 (Perrysville Avenue)HOV: northbound left exit and southbound left entrance
5.5358.908Northern end of HOV lanes
7.30411.7557Bellevue, West View
Ohio Township8.41013.5358 Green Belt (Camp Horne Road)
Franklin Park13.30721.41620[lower-alpha 2] I-79 north ErieExit 72 on I-79, northern terminus of I-279
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
  1. Sequential exit number before replaced with milepost-based exit number[15]
  2. Milepost-based exit number from former southern terminus at I-79[15]
  3. Northbound
  4. Southbound

See also

  • U.S. Roads portal
  • Pennsylvania portal


  1. "Pennsylvaniua Highways - Interstate 279". Pennsylvania Highways. September 19, 2010.
  2. "Interstates Renumbered". The Pittsburgh Press. February 24, 1972. p. 8. Retrieved November 30, 2017 via
  3. "The Bridges of Pittsburgh: Veterans Memorial Bridge". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  4. "Pennsylvania Highways: Interstate 279". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  5. Kitsko, Jeffrey. "Interstate 279". Pennsylvania Highways.
  6. Schmitz, Jon (June 11, 2009). "Roads unite to form new Interstate 376". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
  7. "The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  8. Prince, Adam. "The I-279/376 Downtown Connector". GribbleNation.
  9. Grata, Joe (2006-05-19). "New HOV gates start Monday on Parkway North". Retrieved 2010-06-01.
  10. "Lost Pittsburgh cemetery lives on in memories - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. August 19, 2013.
  12. "Video Log". Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  13. Bureau of Maintenance and Operations (January 2016). Roadway Management System Straight Line Diagrams (Report) (2015 ed.). Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  14. Staff (August 19, 2009). "I-376 Corridor New Exit Numbers" (PDF). Pennsylvania Department of Transportation District 11-0. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  15. "Pennsylvania Exit Numbering" (PDF). Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 16, 2016.

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