Interstate 78 is an east-west highway stretching from Lebanon County, Pennsylvania to New York City. It covers about 77 miles in Pennsylvania and has been the site of some of the most horrific car accidents and truck accidents in the Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, Pennsylvania region. The roadway represents a major thoroughfare for traffic heading into New Jersey and New York from Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Harrisburg. Over 4 million trucks travel the roadway each year with trucks representing approximately a quarter of the traffic on the road.
Accident History on Route 78 in the Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton PA area:
- February 14, 2007: Interstate 78 (I-78) was closed from Pennsylvania State Route 100 in Fogelsville to the US Route 22 split in Lebanon County because of a winter storm that brought the road to a standstill. Two tractor trailers were unable to proceed on the roadway due to the road conditions resulting in motorists having to remain in their vehicles for up to 20 hours in blistery cold conditions. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell issued an apology to the hundreds of stranded drivers calling the road conditions “unacceptable”.
- January, 2008: The North Jersey Transportation Authority performed an I-78 Corridor Transit Study in January, 2008 to address the problems with I-78. That report concluded that “congestion on I-78 and US Route 22 is extensive and frequent, and affects a lengthy stretch of the corridor, typically from milepost 13 in Union Township, Hunterdon County, to milepost 30 in Bedminster, Somerset County.” The report further concluded that “congestion is expected to worsen over the coming years without intervention, resulting in more severe over-capacity conditions as well as longer peak periods… The quality of life in the Corridor will be adversely affected in general.” The study concluded that other means of transportation, such as expanding the passenger rail system, express bus lines, park and ride systems, and car pools would help to relieve the congestion problem on I-78.
- June 22, 2009: A driver was killed in an apparent road rage incident on I-78 east in Allentown, PA when his vehicle flipped while chasing after another motorist.
- July 1, 2009: Traffic remains backed up after an accident involving a tractor trailer and a sedan shut down two eastbound lanes on Interstate 78 police said. State police at the Perryville barracks said the morning accident occurred at mile marker 28.3 about a mile west of Interstate 287 and forced ..
- Sep 8, 2009: The right lane of I-78 West was closed west of Exit 29 due to a dump truck accident which left debris on the road.
- July 19, 2010: A two car accident occurred on I-78 with one motorist left unconscious and four trapped occupants.
- September 2, 2010: A Bethlehem motorcyclist was killed when his motorcycle was struck by a tractor trailer on Interstate 78 near Route 412.
- September 4, 2010: A fiery truck accident involving two tractor trailers resulted in a fatality in Lower Saucon Township just west of the Hellertown exit.
- October 25, 2010: A man speeding on Interstate 78 in Berks County early Tuesday was killed when his car smashed into the rear of a tractor-trailer, which then dragged the car for nearly a quarter-mile. The crash closed the right lane of I-78 east from 2:30 to 6 a.m. between Exit 19 for Strausstown (Route 183) and Exit 17 for Rehrersburg (Route 419). The accident happened between mile markers 18.4 and 18.6 in Tulpehocken Township.
The conclusions submitted by the North Jersey Transportation Authority confirm that Interstate 78 is a congested roadway and that the conditions on the roadway are expected to get worse. The numerous high speed accidents that have resulted in serious injuries and death confirms the need for all motorists to exercise extreme caution while driving on Interstate 78 (I-78).
Some suggestions to avoid an accident on Interstate 78:
1. Reduce speed during inclement weather conditions.
2. Always be aware of driver’s behind you.
3. Be on the lookout for traffic stoppage ahead.
4. Be on the lookout for construction zones on the highway.
5. Stay in the right lane allowing speeders to pass.
6. Remain alert at all times.
7. Be aware of trucks and tractor trailers traveling too closely behind you.
8. Try to avoid traveling on I-78 during snow storms and adverse weather conditions.
9. Maintain a sufficient distance between your vehicle and those traveling ahead of you.
10. Travel within the posted speed limit.