Providing a connection for traffic heading from New York City and New Jersey to Scranton, this Interstate began in 1961. In that year, construction began on the section between PA 435 and Interstate 81 and finished the following year. Originally, it opened as a new segment of US 611.
Two years would pass before work would begin on another section, this time between Interstate 80 and Exit 3. It was being built in conjunction with construction of that Interstate between Exit 242 and Exit 298. When it opened in 1965, the remaining section between PA 940 and PA 435 remained a line on a map.
Construction started back up in 1967 on two sections: PA 940 to PA 423 and PA 507 to the Dorantown Road overpass. In 1968, construction commenced on the sections from PA 423 to PA 507 and Dorantown Road overpass to PA 307, which would mark 17 miles under construction. This long section would open to traffic in 1970, and with it came the shift of US 611 onto the portion between Exit 8 and Exit 13. The original section of that route still exists in Gouldsboro State Park between the Tobyhanna Army Depot and PA 507. The Interstate 380 designation came into existence in 1973, as well as the section between PA 435 and Tigue Street upgraded to Interstate standards that year.
In 1974, construction began on the section from PA 307 to the Shutters Road underpass. The following year, work was extended from Shutters Road to PA 435 south, which included the "Directional T" interchange with Interstate 84. This section was opened to traffic in 1976.
Winter weather can play havoc on roads in the Poconos, and one celebrity found that out the hard way. The tour bus of Gloria Estefan, lead singer of Miami Sound Machine, was hit by a truck in the northbound lanes near Tobyhanna around 12:15 PM on March 20, 1990 en route to a show in Syracuse, New York. She, five other band members, and the truck driver were taken to Community Medical Center in Scranton. Estefan suffered two fractured and dislocated vertebra and fortunately was not paralyzed from those injuries, but did require two titanium rods to be surgically implanted to stabilize her spinal column. Her husband, Emilio, suffered head and hand injuries, and their son, Nayid, suffered a neck injury. The bus driver, Ron Jones, stopped the vehicle when he saw a tractor-trailer jack-knife in the snow and a truck and bus stopped behind. "The road was wet and snow-covered," said Trooper Joseph Kearney, the second officer on the scene. "It was light snow at that time and slippery. Traffic had stopped." He added, "He (the truck driver) came up on them and was unable to stop. He was unable to stop and should have been. That's the bottom line." The truck driver was cited for driving at an unsafe speed. A lawsuit was filed in April of that year against the driver, Heraldo Samuels, but it was settled in August for $8.5 million. Estefan had to cancel an international tour to recuperate and endured ten months of physical therapy.
The first exit numbers to appear on the 1975 Department of Transportation map showed I-380 with mileage based exit numbers, which reappeared in 2001. The last time mileage based exit numbers were shown on I-380 was on the 1977 map. What was interesting about the exits where that the numbering started both in Scranton and at Interstate 80, which meant that the highest numbered exit was for PA 435.
Since the inception of the Interstate 380 designation, it has been signed as an east-west highway. With the mileage based system of numbering exits, Exit 1 would have been in Scranton instead at Interstate 80. In May 2001, PennDOT switched the cardinal direction of the highway to a north-south orientation, so that the exit numbers will begin with the interchange at I-80 and to comply with Federal Highway Administration guidelines for spur highways branching off of east-west Interstates.
One of the grisliest murders in the history of the Poconos had one of its final chapters written on Interstate 380. On January 29, 2008, a PennDOT crew treating the Interstate in preparation for freezing rain discovered a bag in the median at mile marker 4.1. The bag contained human remains, which upon discovering, the crew contacted State Police. Interstate 380 was closed in both directions with traffic detoured onto PA 940 and PA 611 while more than 25 officers searched the area. Bags were found at five more locations along this Interstate and two locations along Interstate 80 in Monroe County. An autopsy was performed and the remains were identified as those of Deanna Null of Williamsport. Charles Hicks of Tobyhanna, and who was employed at the Tobyhanna Army Depot, was arrested and put on trial for the murder.
We all know why the chicken crossed the road, and it seems at least 250 of them knew as well on the morning of September 6, 2012. State Police and PennDOT were sent out to a section in Dunmore after receiving calls from drivers who spotted chickens running free and more than a dozen crates filled with chickens on the side of the Interstate. No one knows how the chickens got there, but it was more than likely a truck hauling chickens that somehow lost its load without the driver knowing. The Interstate was not closed because the chickens were resting off to the side of the travel lanes. PennDOT workers gathered and delivered them to the Griffin Animal Pond Shelter.
At a ceremony held on the Turnpike to unveil its initial 70 MPH speed limit zone on July 23, 2014, Transportation Deputy Secretary Brad Mallory announced that on August 11, the speed limit would increase on Interstate 380 as part of a pilot project. The Act 89 transportation bill passed in November 2013 gave PennDOT the power to raise speed limits on their highways to a maximum of 70 MPH. While "lead foots" rejoiced, not everyone was happy about the rise including State Representative Mario Scavello. At a meeting of the Safe 80 Task Force on July 25, he said that PennDOT needed to examine the traffic impact of the Kalahari water park complex under construction at Pocono Manor. They took his suggestion as only 16 miles of Interstate 380 were affected from north of Exit 8 (instead of Exit 3 originally planned) in Monroe County to Interstate 84 in Lackawanna County. The new speed limit signs were installed by the end of that day.
Interstate 380 Ends
Interstate 380 Pictures
Interstate 81E (Decommissioned)
Interstate 81S (Decommissioned)
Interstate 380 - Andy Field/Alex Nitzman
Interstate 380 - David Golub
Interstate 380 - Scott Oglesby
Interstate 380 Pictures - Andy Field/Alex Nitzman
Interstate 380 Pictures - Steve Alpert
|Southern Terminus:||I-80 at Exit 293 in Crescent Lake|
|Northern Terminus:||I-81 at Exit 187 in Scranton|
|National Highway System:||Entire length|
Exit 2 to I-81
Fallen Trooper Memorial Highway: Exit 2 to I-81
0084: Exit 4 to I-81 in Scranton
|Counties:||Monroe, Wayne, and Lackawanna|
|Multiplexed Route:||I-84: I-81 to Exit 4|
|Former Designations:||PA 2 (1925 - 1930):
Exit 2 to Exit 1
US 611 (1926 - 1972): Exit 2 to Exit 1
I-82 (1957 - 1958)
I-81S (1958 - 1964)
I-81E (1964 - 1973)
US 611 (1962 - 1971): Exit 2 to I-81
PA 435 (1971 - 1976): Exit 2 to I-81
US 611 (1970 - 1972): Exit 8 to Exit 13
|Former LR Designations:||1002: I-80 to Exit 2
168: Exit 2 to 0.60 mile north of Exit 2
790: 0.60 mile north of Exit 2 to I-81