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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 02-10-2015, 08:28 PM
 
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I need to drive from York Pa To Niagara Falls. Can you please tell me what the roads are like? Has all the snow made it a difficult drive lately? Are they good highways?
Thank you.
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Old 02-12-2015, 11:49 AM
 
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The usual route is to use US 15 north from the Harrisburg area, to the Corning NY area following I-86/NY 17 west to I-390 north to I-90/NY Thruway west. US 15 is mostly expressway, sometimes improved surface road.

NY State is liberal with the road condiments. The Thruway will only close during the height of storms far worse than what is seen in southcentral PA. It is mostly flat and straight, most of the hills/curves are in PA, with a couple on I-390.

tips:

-From Dillsburg heading north into Camp Hill, best to veer left on PA 581 west to I-81 north to US 22/322 west to resume following US 11/15 north after Duncannon (staying on signed US 15 through Camp Hill, Wormleysburg, and Enola especially is sheer torture, exacerbated by long-term bridge work in Enola);
-Or from I-83, except in morning rush hour best to exit 2nd Street Harrisburg, right on Paxton St, left on Cameron St/PA 230 and keep going as it becomes the US 22/322 expressway and continue as above)

-Don't turn left on PA 17 at Liverpool in Perry County (truckers especially regret this).

-Stay on US 15 from Selinsgrove through Williamsport, except during the 2 weekends of the Little League World Series in August. North of Selinsgrove there is a maddening series of signals through Hummels Wharf and Shamokin Dam that makes you think there must be a better way to go. But, there isn't, not for a few more years yet. I-180 to Williamsport is so much longer, that unless you speed at a dangerous level it is best to stay on the surface road US 15.

-If you have an old GPSr that tells you to exit US 15 north at PA 287, Tioga Junction/Tioga, ignore it. The 65 mph expressway is finished all the way to I-86/NY 17.

-Your GPSr might have you exit I-390 near Mount Morris, NY to follow NY 36 to NY 63 through Batavia (a fair size small city) to NY 98 north briefly to the Thruway interchange. This is physically shorter and saves a bit of toll. Last couple of times I've been on this, there now seems to be too much traffic on these two lane roads - think Chinatown buses, held up by tractors towing manure spreaders. Especially in iffier weather, try sticking to the expressways now.
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Old 02-12-2015, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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Your going to take I-83 North from York PA all the way to the I-81 split in Harrisburg. Your going to take I-81 South and get off at exit 67 getting onto US322 West from 322 West your going to go to Clark's Ferry and take the exit for US 15 North. The exit for US 15 North will be right after the Pilot truck stop and Sheetz to your right. From there you can use the above directions given by Ki0eh. You could take US15 North till Selingsgrove and get on PA147 North and following that till it become I-180 west and take that all the way till you get back on to US15 North. It's actually quicker to do then following US15 all the way through Selinsgrove and Williamsport even though mileage wise it is further.
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Old 02-12-2015, 03:10 PM
 
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Wow!!! That is very informative. Thank you for taking the time to tell me all that!
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Old 02-12-2015, 06:58 PM
 
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If I take I-180 I'll go thru Lewisburg on US 15 and take I-80 east one exit (not even merging into traffic on the new six lane bridge over the West Branch). Lewisburg always keeps moving better than US 11 to Northumberland then PA 147 miles at 25 mph. I've been seeing active speed enforcement on I-180, it just isn't better unless taking a fairly significant risk.

When the initial phase, which is the northern section of Welcome to the Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation Project Website is done (probably 3 years off at best) I suspect it would be better to take it from the north end of Shamokin Dam then west on I-80 one exit to US 15 north. (Strange that they view the northern section as higher priority then bypassing all of the lights of Hummels Wharf and Shamokin Dam, but such things are decided with local input. I'm sure Bedford County sees no problem with Breezewood, for example.)
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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The reason why I've said to use PA147 is the fact it's quicker then just going straight on US15 (I timed it twice both going north and south) for getting out of the Williamsport area and coming back to Harrisburg. It's been roughly six months since I've been up that way but I've done that trip a lot in the previous year.

Another way she could take to Niagara Falls is to get out of Harrisburg on US322 West and follow that up till she gets to State College and get on I-99 North and get off at I-80 West and follow that to exit 97 and take US 219 North straight into Buffalo NY. Distance wise it's a lot shorter but it's a lot of back country roads. One benefit is diamondgirl45 wouldn't have to deal with tolls than and it's a much more direct route.
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Old 02-13-2015, 10:55 AM
 
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I've been doing a lot of the trip at least monthly for decades. I don't speed, my camp neighbor from Philly area does, and we both agree on 15 vs. 180. There was some roadwork last year on 15 atop Bald Eagle Mountain, that's now done.

If one is really interested in using much of US 219, one could get off I-80 west at exit 111 and take PA 153 to US 219, bypassing both DuBois and Brockway (last year, I was taking this *to* Brockway due to construction near exit 97 which I think is now done). PA 153 goes over two mountains between I-80 and US 219 but it's a good standard road. There are even some passing lanes, though not always enough to get around coal trucks.

I've also done the trip getting off I-80 at exit 147 (Snow Shoe), PA 144 north (or even a short cut in Snow Shoe) to PA 879 past Karthaus, Quehanna Highway to Wykoff Run Rd through the Quehanna Wild Area, to 120 west to 46 north to 219 north. A beautiful drive in high summer, spectacular in high fall, and surprisingly short. Another surprise is the number of Canadian plates you see doing this. North of 80 the "big city" on this route is Emporium because Smethport is even bypassed (as well as Bradford, you come in to the brief US 219 expressway north of where it bypasses PA's perennial cold spot). It doesn't seem like that's a route the OP would be interested in during a season when Snow Shoe lives up to its name.
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Old 02-13-2015, 06:58 PM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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Myself and everyone else I know takes I-180 East from Williamsport to 147 to head back towards Harrisburg because of the speed difference. It's the directions you will get as the quickest route by trucking companies as well. I take PA147 to US11 and hop on that turning right at the stop light in town and get back on US11/15 South turning left at the next light instead of following PA147 all the way through the town but for simplicity the OP I just brought up PA147 so not to make directions overly complicated.

As far as US219 goes I haven't take that up to Buffalo NY since 2008. So it's been a long time since I was on that route and it is a lot of small town and country driving. As far as snow goes...it is winter to be blunt. It's a US route and they will keep it clear. Just watch the weather for the area you plan on driving through and plan accordingly.
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Old 02-13-2015, 08:42 PM
 
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A US 15 to Thruway based route would be much more winter stable than a US 219 based route for sure. The bullseye of storms coming off Lake Erie is the south suburbs of Buffalo (although the big lake dumps don't usually occur in midwinter when more of the lake is frozen). Early winter this year they had feet in the city and south while Williamsville/Amherst (northeast suburbs near where the Thruway comes in) had blue sky.
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