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End of US highway 222

View a map showing this route.

Additional research and/or photo credits: Jesse Bender; Chris Elbert; "GargoyleMT"; Jeff Kitsko; Dan Moraseski; Alex Nitzman; me

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1926-1928(?) Reading, PA (near Wakefield, PA)
1928(?)-1932 Reading, PA Conowingo, MD
1932-1937 Allentown, PA Conowingo, MD
1937-1954 Allentown, PA Perryville, MD
1954-1995 near Allentown, PA Perryville, MD
1995-present near Allentown, PA Conowingo, MD

US 222 was among the original 1926 routes; at the time its north end was in Reading PA (you can view photos from there on this page). Which brings up a couple questions: why did it end in Reading? And why was it numbered as a branch of US 22 when US 22 doesn't even run through Reading? The answer to both is: originally US 22 did run through Reading, via what is now US 422 towards Harrisburg and US 222 towards Allentown.

Modern US 22 (which is a straight shot between Harrisburg and Allentown, avoiding Reading) was rerouted in the 1930s; at that time the US 222 designation was extended to Allentown via old US 22. At first, it appears US 222 may have met US 22 (Tilghman Street) on 15th Street - at least according to this 1939 USGS map:

The photo below shows the view from that perspective:

Google Maps Street View, 2009

That's looking north on 15th, where US 222 ended at Tilghman. The shot below is looking west on Tilghman:

Google Maps Street View, 2009

That was US 22, and US 222 began to the left on 15th.

By 1954, the modern US 22 had been built (Lehigh Valley Thruway), so the US 222 designation was extended east on Tilghman (old 22) to 7th Street (which is shown on the map above as US 309). There both routes were co-signed north on 7th (which becomes MacArthur Road) to an interchange with the new US 22; US 309 continued north, but US 222 ended there. The shot below is looking south on MacArthur:

GargoyleMT, Sep. 2006

That was southbound US 309, which continued straight ahead, but at the US 22 interchange (just ahead), MacArthur also picked up the north beginning of US 222 as well.

That only lasted a few years: in the late 1950s US 222 was changed again. This time it was completely removed from downtown Allentown, instead joining with the new US 309 bypass (part of which now doubles as I-78) around the south and west edges of the city. Its new north end was at a different interchange with US 22, shown on the 1957 USGS map below:

Did I say "north" end? Yes - despite the fact that US 222 is numbered as a branch of an east/west route, it's signed north/south. Here's how that interchange was signed in 2000:


Today's PA 309 south used to be US 309 south, and US 222 began there too. Strange how they spelled out the routes instead of using route shields - same thing in the photo below:

me, Feb. 2007

That's looking north on PA 309 at what was for a short time the north end of US 222. Dave Montuori reports it was in the 1960s that US 222 was truncated to its current terminus at I-78's exit 54 (that's actually just outside Allentown, at Dorneyville PA). He remembers a sign there stating "Jct 309 / End 222". But by the time Alex was there, no "End" sign was posted, which is rather unusual for Pennsylvania. The photo below was taken from the north beginning of US 222. This is westbound on Hamilton, heading out of Allentown and Dorneyville:

Nitzman, 2000

To the left of the camera is the off-ramp from westbound I-78. So travelers turning left from there (towards the direction of this photo) are at the beginning of US 222. Heading the opposite direction, the north end of US 222 is not announced...

Elbert, July 2006

...but (as Chris points out), that may be intentional, since PA 222 begins here. The photo below shows the exit from eastbound I-78 to the north beginning of US 222:

Nitzman, 2000

Note that there is only a US 222 shield - even though, if one were to turn left (towards Allentown) at the bottom of the offramp, they would actually be on PA 222. Indeed, Alex observed at the end of the ramp that there was a sign for north US 222, as well as south. And signage from the opposite direction (west on I-78) also indicates both directions are still US 222:

me, Feb. 2007

Dave Montuori points out that PA 222 was not immediately designated as such at the time US 222 was truncated out of the downtown area. Rather, it's only been around since 1991.

Apparently when US 222 was first commissioned, its south end was at the Maryland state line south of Wakefield PA. Here's a photo taken from that area:

Bender, July 2010

Originally US 222 didn't go as far as Port Deposit, and it doesn't today either, but that mileage sign was probably erected during the timeframe when US 222 actually did extend through there (more on that later). It wasn't long, though, before the designation was extended into Maryland. Today the last southbound sign is just past the Maryland line...

Bender, July 2010

...and the route extends about three miles ahead, to its junction with US 1 at Conowingo. As we approach that intersection, there's this somewhat verbose sign:

Bender, July 2010

I'll say a little more about that below. But first, this next photo was taken from just ahead, at the south end of US 222:

Bender, July 2010 (unchanged since at least 2000)

Today the designation ends at the signal ahead, and that's also the way it was back in the 1930s. But in about 1940, the US 222 designation was extended further south, along what is now signed as MD hwy. 222. It was co-signed with US 1 southwest for about a mile, and then it resumed heading southeast along the Susquehanna for another 10 miles or so, to its terminus at what is now MD hwy. 7 in Perryville, but which back then was US 40 (drivers had to use a ferry to get across to Havre de Grace). The photo below is looking eastbound on Broad Street Perryville, which is MD 7 and historic US 40:

Nitzman, Mar. 2004

Around 1940, the south beginning of US 222 was to the left on Aiken Avenue. This remained the case right up until 1995, despite the fact that US 40 traffic has long been rerouted onto a newer highway, about a half-mile to the left on Aiken (which is now designated MD 222).

In 1995, US 222 was truncated back to its old south terminus at US 1 in Conowingo. The road through Port Deposit (between Conowingo and Perryville) is narrow and not very conducive to truck traffic (but Alex reports that it's still a drive worth taking). So Maryland decided to remove the US route designation from that segment. Instead, they signed it as MD 222, and then they directed truck traffic to use a more suitable route (namely to the east on US 1, and then south via MD 276). So that's what the trucker signage above is all about (and we'll see more examples below).

This next shot is from northbound US 1, at the south beginning of US 222:

Bender, July 2010 (unchanged since at least 2004)

Pretty standard. But signage from the opposite direction on US 1 is strange:

Bender, July 2010

No reference to US 222 at all... just a mention of Truck MD 222. I think what's going on there is, southbound US 1 is also Truck MD 222 up to that point, so they want to make sure truck traffic following that route turns right here (instead of continuing ahead on US 1, which is also vanilla MD 222, which as I've said is not truck-friendly). If you take that right turn, the first signage confirms that you are indeed on northbound US 222. There used to be strange sidekick there, too...

Nitzman, 2000

...but Alex reports that curious "Truck" assembly was gone by 2004.

For more photos of current and historic endpoints of US 222, please visit Tim Reichard's page.