US 309
Joseph Hunter Highway

One of the two main routes that connected Philadelphia, Allentown-Bethlehem, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton areas before the Northeast Extension opened, US 309 was the predecessor of PA 309.  Signed in 1926, the route began in Philadelphia at US 611, traveled northwest on Stenton Avenue then turned onto Bethlehem Pike to enter Montgomery County.  It then followed the current PA 309 alignment but passed through Sellersville before returning to that alignment before changing to the PA 145 alignment to enter Allentown.  In that city, it followed Fifth Street, Lehigh Street, Union Street, Eighth Street, Hamilton Street, 17th Street, Liberty Street, and 19th Street before continuing on Walbert Street to connect to the current PA 309 alignment again.  However, in Schnecksville it left the current route and followed the current PA 873 alignment to Weiders Crossing where it picked up the current PA 248 alignment.  In Weissport, it joined US 209 to form a multiplex until Nesquehoning where they parted ways for US 309 to follow the current PA 93 alignment to Hazelton.  There it rejoined the current PA 309 alignment to head to Wilkes-Barre.  It entered Wilkes-Barre on Hazel Avenue, Park Avenue, and South Street to end at US 11.

The route was paved with the exception from Slatington to Palmerton and Bomanstown to US 209 but was finished in 1928.  That year the route was under construction from Quakertown to Center Valley and Hazleton to Butler Drive and the following year the section between Quakertown to Center Valley was completed.  In 1930, the section between Hazleton and Butler Drive was completed.

In 1930, the termini were moved from their originally signed locations.  The southern terminus was moved to US 422 at Germantown Avenue in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia.  The northern terminus was moved from Wilkes-Barre to the New York state line in South Waverly.  In Wilkes-Barre, it turned onto River Street to head to Pittston where it crossed the Susquehanna River's East Branch into West Pittston to follow the current PA 92 alignment.  In Tunkhannock, it began its multiplex with US 6 to Towanda where it then multiplexed with US 220 to the New York state line.

Not only did the location of the ends of US 309 change that year, but also the path of the designation.  The path through Allentown was simplified by routing it onto Jordan Street, Susquehanna Street, Fifth Street, Auburn Street, Lehigh Street, Union Street, Seventh Street to Hamilton Street.  In 1932, Wilkes-Barre saw changes in the route, with the route being moved onto Washington Street, Butler Street, North Main Street, and Courtright Avenue.  However, again Allentown would see changes just two years after re-routing US 309.  This time its alignment would become less of a zig-zag through downtown as it was placed on Sixth Street and Tilghman Street.  In 1933, the route was moved off Lanark Road to bypass the village of the same name.

Another movement of the southern terminus took place in 1935.  The designation would start at US 422 at Ridge Avenue in Fairmount Park, travel up Lincoln Drive to Germantown Avenue.  Improvements also took place during the decade when the route was widened between Philadelphia and Allentown in 1938.

Work continued to upgrade the highway in the 1940s.  The first year of the decade saw a lot of widening taking place:  Lehighton to Packerton, Mountain Top to the Hanover Township line, Wilkes-Barre to Carey Street, Port Griffith to Pittston, and PA 92 to Tunkhannock.  In 1941, the section from Fairview Heights to Mountain Top and Treible Road to Dark Hollow Road.  Another change in the route took place in 1946 when it was placed onto the current PA 309 alignment from Wilkes-Barre to Bowman Creek and the current PA 29 alignment from there to Tunkhannock.  That required yet another change in Wilkes-Barre with the route placed on the newly built Wilkes-Barre Boulevard, Spring Street, Kidder Street, Butler Street, Main Street, Courtright Street, River Street, Pierce Street, Wyoming Avenue, and Union Street.  Also it was widened in Bowmanstown that year and from Trucksville to Dallas in 1947.  In 1949, the route was widened between Tunkhannock to Treible Road as well as Russell Hill to Meshoppen Creek Road.

The 1950s ushered in more dynamic changes to the route.  In 1952, the route was widened from Spring Mountain Road to Cross Village and construction began on the Lehigh Valley Thruway as well.  In 1954, the Thruway opened and created a new alignment for US 309 which was moved onto Seventh Avenue to US 22, began its multiplex at the current PA 145 interchange, and traveled west with US 22 to Foglesville.  From that point it replaced PA 100 to Pleasant Corners and PA 29 to Hazleton.  The latter taking the former route of US 309.  Not only did that change happen, but the southern terminus was moved once again.  This time it would be moved to back to the intersection of US 611 and Stenton Avenue, travel northwest on Stenton then onto Willow Grove Avenue to Germantown Avenue.  Widening also took place from Mountain Top to Ashley.

Widening continued in 1955 with the section from PA 443 to South Tamaqua and Hazleton to Fairview Heights being completed.  The following year the section from Dallas to the Wyoming County line was widened.  New construction was taking place in 1958 with sections seeing a median installed and construction beginning on new expressway alignments.  The parts to see a median installed were:  PA 443 to South Tamaqua, Hometown to McAdoo, Audenried to Hazleton, Hazleton to Old Turnpike Road, in Nescopeck Pass, in Konns Corners, Mountain Top to Ashley, and Russel Hill to Stanek Road.  The expressway sections to begin were the Fort Washington Expressway as well as from Lanark to the Lehigh Valley Thruway.  The first part of the Fort Washington Expressway from the PA 73 interchange to north of Spring House opened in 1959 as well as the entire part from Lanark to the Lehigh Valley Thruway which took US 309 off the streets of Allentown.

The 1960s saw more changes to the alignment and the eventual decommissioning of the designation.  The first year of the decade saw the opening of the remainder of the Fort Washington Expressway from the PA 152 interchange to the PA 73 interchange.  This created a new alignment for US 309 which replaced PA 152 on Ogontz Avenue to the interchange with that route.  Yet another change in alignment took place in 1962 when it was placed on the current PA 309 alignment between US 22 and Schnecksville.  In 1963, a median was constructed from Reservoir Road to the Lehigh County line.  A year later one was installed from the northern end of the Fort Washington Expressway to US 202, Richland Township line to Resevoir Road, Bucks County line to Center Valley, and Forty Fort to Dallas.  Also in 1964, the northern terminus was moved from the New York state line to Tunkhannock.  In 1966, a median was built on the section from Broad Street to Unionville.  Finally in 1968, the entire route was decommissioned.

Fort Washington Expressway
US 309 Auxiliary Routes
PA 309
Fort Washington Expressway - Steve Anderson
Terminus of US 309 - Dale Sanderson

US 611 in Philadelphia.
US 6 in Tunkhannock.
Length: 138 miles
Names: Joseph Hunter Highway
Stenton Avenue, Ogontz Avenue, Fort Washington Expressway, Bethlehem Pike, County Line Road, Main Street, Third Street, Summit Road, Jordan Road, Appalachian Parkway, Center Street, Pine Street, Railroad Street, Claremont Avenue, Hazleton Avenue, Kennedy Drive, Appalachian Parkway, Hazleton-McAdoo Highway, Church Street, Hunter Highway, Mountain Boulevard, Ashley Bypass, Kidder Street, Jordan Lane, Butler Street, North Main Street, Courtright Street, River Street, Pierce Street, Wyoming Avenue, Union Street, Memorial Highway, and Tunkhannock Highway
Counties: Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks, Lehigh, Schuylkill, Carbon, Luzerne, and Wyoming
Expressway: PA 152 to Springhouse
Lanark to Interstate 78
PA 12  (1927 - 1928):  Philadelphia to Allentown
PA 22  (1927 - 1928):  Allentown to Wilkes-Barre
PA 15  (1927 - 1928):  Wilkes-Barre to Trucksville
PA 62  (1927 - 1928):  Trucksville to Tunkhannock
PA 92  (1928 - 1946):  Kingston to Bowman Creek
PA 29  (1928 - 1954):  Schnecksville to Hazleton
PA 152  (1928 - 1954):  Broad Street to Ogontz Avenue
PA 152  (1928 - 1960):  Stenton Avenue to Easton Road
Decommissioned: 1968
Replaced By: PA 309:  Philadelphia to Bowman Creek
PA 29:  Bowman Creek to Tunkhannock

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Page updated August 27, 2009.
Content and graphics copyright Jeffrey J. Kitsko. All rights reserved.
Information sign courtesy of Richard C. Moeur.
Information courtesy of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and Rand McNally.