The Pennsylvania Turnpike is a toll highway operated by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. A controlled-access highway, it runs for 360 miles (580 km) across the state. The turnpike begins at the Ohio state line in Lawrence County, where the road continues west into Ohio as the Ohio Turnpike. It ends at the New Jersey border at the Delaware River–Turnpike Toll Bridge over the Delaware River in Bucks County, where the road continues east as the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension of the New Jersey Turnpike.
The highway runs east–west through the state, connecting the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia areas. It crosses the Appalachian Mountains in central Pennsylvania, passing through four tunnels. The turnpike is part of the Interstate Highway System; it is designated as part of Interstate 76 (I-76) between the Ohio border and Valley Forge, I-70 and I-76 between New Stanton and Breezewood, and I-276 between Valley Forge and the New Jersey border. The road uses a ticket system of tolling between the Warrendale and Neshaminy Falls toll plazas. An additional eastbound toll plaza is located at Gateway, near the Ohio border, while a cashless westbound toll plaza using toll-by-plate is located at the Delaware River Bridge. E-ZPass, a form of electronic toll collection, is accepted at all toll plazas.
During the 1930s the Pennsylvania Turnpike was designed to improve automobile transportation across the mountains of Pennsylvania, using seven tunnels built for the abandoned South Pennsylvania Railroad in the 1880s. The road opened on October 1, 1940 between Irwin and Carlisle as the first long-distance limited-access highway in the United States, leading to the construction of other limited-access toll roads and the Interstate Highway System.
Following World War II, the turnpike was extended east to Valley Forge in 1950 and west to the Ohio border in 1951. In 1954, the road was extended further east to the Delaware River. The mainline turnpike was finished in 1956 with the completion of the Delaware River Bridge. During the 1960s an additional tube was bored at four of the two-lane tunnels, while the other three tunnels were bypassed; these improvements made the entire length of the highway four lanes wide. Improvements continue to be made to the road: rebuilding the original section to modern standards, widening portions of the turnpike to six lanes, and adding interchanges.
The turnpike runs east–west across Pennsylvania, from the Ohio state line in Lawrence County to the New Jersey state line in Bucks County. It passes through the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia areas, along with farmland and woodland. The highway crosses the Appalachian Mountains, in the central part of the state, through four tunnels. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, created in 1937 to construct, finance, operate, and maintain the road, controls the highway. Five members comprise the commission, including the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and four other members appointed by the governor of Pennsylvania. In 2015, the roadway had an annual average daily traffic count ranging from a high of 120,000 vehicles between Norristown and I-476 to a low of 12,000 vehicles between the Ohio border and I-79/US 19. As part of the Interstate Highway System, the turnpike is part of the National Highway System. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is designated a Blue Star Memorial Highway honoring those who have served in the United States Armed Forces; the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania has placed Blue Star Memorial Highway markers at service plazas along the turnpike.